Wednesday January 24, 2018

For 3 Kings Day, Playful Art with a Serious Side

Luis Cruz Azaceta, Time Out, 2017, from the installation work In Transit

Courtesy Luis Cruz Azaceta

El Día de los Reyes Magos, or Three Kings Day, marks the visit of the Magi to the infant Jesus. Throughout the Spanish-speaking Americas, it’s celebrated with parades and processions, family gatherings, and toys for the children.

With El Día de los Reyes Magos coming up this weekend, we celebrate with works by Luis Cruz Azaceta and Carlos Estévez—two artists known for approaching serious themes with a spirit of play.

First up: Azaceta’s In Transit, 2017. With 39 new toy constructions and three paintings from 2005, the installation is something of a Three Kings Day procession in itself.

“People were taken by surprise when they saw these new works,” Azaceta told us.

Installation view of Luis Cruz Azaceta, In Transit, 2017, at the American Museum of the Cuban Diaspora

Courtesy Luis Cruz Azaceta

Currently on view in the exhibition Of/By/For at the American Museum of the Cuban Diaspora in Miami, In Transit doesn’t shy away from tough issues.

Here is Azaceta’s statement on In Transit.

 

IN TRANSIT

IMMIGRANTS

EXILES

UPROOTED

TRANSPLANTED

NOT HERE

NOT THERE

LIMBO

&

FEAR

LABYRINTH

TOYS

NO EXIT

ONE

TWO

THREE

INCONGRUITIES

UPSIDE

DOWN

INNOCENCE

& PLAYFULNESS

IN A WORLD

OF FEAR

& UNCERTAINTY

 

DREAMING.

Luis Cruz Azaceta, Exhibit 1, 2017, from the installation work In Transit

Courtesy Luis Cruz Azaceta

Luis Cruz Azaceta, Cementing Music, 2017, from the installation work In Transit

Courtesy Luis Cruz Azaceta

In early 2016, Carlos Estévez received an artist residency at the McColl Art Center for the Arts + Innovation in Charlotte, North Carolina. Among the facilities he had access to were ovens for ceramics. In four months, he produced more than 200 ceramic works.

Carlos Estévez, Arcangel Metatron, 2016

Courtesy Carlos Estévez

“It’s definitely a charming place,” Estévez said of the McColl Center, “full of ghosts and spirits that do not rest. From the very beginning, I connected with that energy and it was my source of inspiration through the magic of fire.”

Carlos Estévez, Failed Amblyopia Treatment, 2016

Courtesy Carlos Estévez

Estévez’s ceramics explore many of the themes in his paintings and three-dimensional constructions, including dancers, demons, metamorphosis, moons, and the intricacies of human anatomy.

Carlos Estévez, Allegro, 2016

Courtesy Carlos Estévez

More than 60 of Estévez’s ceramic plates are currently on view in Carlos Estévez: Fireworks at Miami’s Kendall Art Center.

Happy Día de los Reyes Magos to all.