The death of Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez elicited international praise for a man who boldly experimented with color, but the muted reaction from Venezuela’s government and the decay of some of his Caracas art works reflects a nation in conflict and decline.
Cruz-Diez, who died in Paris over the weekend at age 95, had criticized Venezuela’s socialist leadership in his later years, and the government has not prepared any official tributes for an artist who inspired pride among many Venezuelans.
One of his works, a metallic structure that includes two semi-circular walls and is called «Fisicromía Cóncavo-Convexa,» is in a state of disrepair in Plaza Venezuela, a Caracas square where visitors flocked before Venezuela’s economic crisis took its toll. Now the big fountain at the square is turned off and fewer people visit the art works there, reflecting the weariness and distraction of a population that is more concerned with hustling for basic necessities.
«As a Venezuelan, I feel ashamed that this is how we pay tribute to Cruz-Diez,» said Anais Colina, a 21-year-old art student, as she surveyed the deterioration of Cruz-Diez’s work, which was inaugurated in 1982.