*Arrhythmia* with Diego Espinosa Cruz González and Nadia Lartigue for “Abraham Cruzvillegas: Hi, How Are You, Gonzo?” at The Contemporary Austin.
Photo: Brian Fitzsimmons. Artwork © Abraham Cruzvillegas. Courtesy the artist and kurimanzutto, Mexico City and New York. Image courtesy The Contemporary Austin.

The 5-Minute Journal: Artist Abraham Cruzvillegas Opens His Diary for Galerie

Over the course of one week, Cruzvillegas will answer three questions each day and share them with Galerie readers

Artist Abraham Cruzvillegas’s practice is rooted in the concept of autoconstrucción—or “self-construction,” an idea grounded in notions of transformation, dialogue, and play. During his current exhibition at The Contemporary Austin, “Hi, How Are You, Gonzo?,” a show co-organized by Aspen Art Museum CEO and director Heidi Zuckerman, Cruzvillegas creates sculpture from found objects and then engages visitors as participants in the transformation of the work. Thus, he has furnished the museum staff at The Contemporary with diagrams instructing them on how to create his sculptures. The Contemporary sourced found materials from around the city to create a set of site-specific assemblage sculptures that participants will activate during the run of the show through music, performances, workshops, roller derby, and artmaking led by Austin-based community partners.

Cruzvillegas has shown at museums and institutions around the world, including the Walker Art Center, MoMA, and Tate Modern, where, in 2015, he received the Tate Turbine Hall commission. His work has been featured in numerous biennials, including the Venice Biennale (2003), Documenta (2012), and the Gwangju Biennale (2012). He shows with Kurimanzutto.

As his show “Hi, How Are You, Gonzo?” is under way (the show will travel to the Aspen Art Museum in October 2019), Cruzvillegas shares his daily journal with Galerie at the behest of Aspen Art Museum’s Zuckerman. In January, in celebration of the museum’s 40th anniversary this year, Zuckerman began a project where she shared her journal with our readers for one week. Since then, she has asked one artist per month to share their journal with us. This month, it’s Mexican artist Cruzvillegas.

For more background on Cruzvillegas, you can also read an excerpt of an interview he did with Zuckerman, which will be published in Conversations with Artists Vol. II (Aspen Art Press, fall 2019). Enjoy!

Day 5: Abraham Cruzvillegas’s 5-Minute Journal for Thursday, May 9, 2019

Still from video shot by Abraham Cruzvillegas. Photo: Courtesy of the artist.

What made you feel loved today?
My dear colleagues from Monterrey, Mexico, sent me this video commemorating the sculpture we made in a workshop last year at Parque Fundidora, an urban sustainable park in Monterrey. It’s a large pipe pole holding on its tip a whistle, exactly like the original one used at the foundry factory. The only difference with this one, is that it whistles randomly, subverting the efficiency of the original one. I asked them to paint it half pink, half green, celebrating again the beautiful artist Hélio Oiticica’s samba school in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Pink and green are the national colors of the Mangueira neighborhood [a shantytown neighborhood] in Rio de Janeiro. I’ve been using this color combination for 15 years now all through my work. My colleagues on this project were Adrián Dávila, Alma Nelly Silva Vanegas, Amelia Carmen Loyola, Anllelica Pérez Salinas , Elías Juárez Kury, Fernanda Villarreal, Fernando Fuentes García, Guillermo Aguilar Huerta, José Ibarra Hernández, Luis Frías Leal, Mario Gildardo García, Nancy Guzmán Rodríguez, Yasodari Sánchez.

The traditional pre-Columbian maque lacquerwork made by the Navarro–De Saint Phalle family. Photo: Courtesy of the artist

What surprised you today?
Discussing with Janine Mileaf my project for this September at the Arts Club of Chicago, I had to find an image of the traditional pre-Columbian maque lacquerwork made by the fantastic family Navarro–De Saint Phalle (Martina, Erandine, Sophie, Irepani, and Thomas), from Capacuaro, Mexico, that I’ll include again in my sculptures. I’ll also incorporate found objects, local plants, and handmade works by Tarascan immigrants in Illinois, as I did for works in my recent show at Kurimanzutto gallery in Mexico City. I would also love to work again with the color theory of Swiss expressionist painter Johannes Itten to make funkier combinations for new empty Venn diagrams.

Day 4: Abraham Cruzvillegas’s 5-Minute Journal for Wednesday, May 8, 2019

What made you feel loved today?
Having the punk band Bat Lip performing in my exhibition space at The Contemporary Austin museum during the roller derby was a nice reminder today about all activations happening there until July.

What was the most surprising thing about your day?
Being drawn by Amelie Bendrik became a highlight today!!!

What would you have done differently?
Trying to make a new work out of children’s leftovers . . .

Day 3: Abraham Cruzvillegas’s 5-Minute Journal for Tuesday, May 7, 2019

What made you feel loved today?
Today was surprisingly nice. After years of friendship, knowing that Alexandre Constanzo—the French philosopher who specializes in art and cinema—is as deeply in love with Pier Paolo Pasolini’s work as I am. Alex visited the atelier group at the Beaux-Arts of Paris, and we discussed again Antonin Artaud, Wang Bing, Thomas Hirshhorn, Jean-Luc Moulene, Pedro Costa, and Franz Kafka.

What was the most surprising thing about your day?
It was fantastic having Niklas Svennung in this conversation: I met Alex through him, some 13 years ago, because they attended the same school as children. Now we work together.

What would you have done differently?
Taking a look at the photos I took almost a year ago in Aspen—as my exhibition at The Contemporary Austin museum will travel to the Aspen Art Museum in October this year, I regretted not having a better one from the gondolas there. I’m still thinking of doing something in one of them—hopefully!

Day 2: Abraham Cruzvillegas’s 5-Minute Journal for Monday, May 6, 2019

Courtesy of the artist.

What made you feel loved today?
When I arrived today to the atelier in the school for today’s meeting with the Beaux-Arts’ students, I saw this handrail that I didn’t notice before. I found it really beautiful and took a picture of it. Then I remembered that I’ve been taking pictures of similar objects in different places and situations for many years. I thought that it would be nice to make an exhibition of re-creations of all of them. The handrail makes me think of those at my parents’ house, that my father’s friend Gabriel Jiménez installed everywhere so as not to fall on all the ramps.

What was the most surprising thing about your day?
It was nice reading this comment of one of the students in the studio: “The best discovery from the atelier is the twist of my consciousness about collective action, about its difficulties, and that it’s absolutely necessary, anyways.”

What would you have done differently?
I don’t know exactly what’s not wrong in this scene that I found when arriving to the space in the school where we hold Monday meetings.

DAY 1: Abraham Cruzvillegas’s 5-Minute Journal for Sunday, May 5, 2019

Abraham Cruzvillegas’s son, DJ. Photo: Courtesy of Abraham Cruzvillegas

What made you feel loved today?
My son, DJ’s fourth birthday rock-and-roll party, on May 5th!!! Along with Ana, my sister, DJ keeps collecting all kind of little debris from the street and says, “For your sculpture, Papá. . . . ” In the picture, he is mimicking Lux Interior, from The Cramps, after the playlist we arranged together as a soundtrack for his party, but also for collecting things as we walk around. The playlist included that band but also Blondie, Three Souls in My Mind, The Slits, X-Ray Spex, the Bodysnatchers, Rigo Tovar y Su Costa Azul, The Ramones, The Clash, and some Beatles as well. . . . The song we were listening to is “Garbageman.”

Installation view of Abraham Cruzvillegas’s exhibition “Hi, How Are You, Gonzo?,” at The Contemporary Austin Photo: Courtesy of Abraham Cruzvillegas

What was the most surprising thing about your day?
I’m fascinated with the activation of my exhibition at The Contemporary Austin museum, which is traveling to the Aspen Art Museum in October. There have been so many beautiful local people using the sculptures and the space for very different purposes, notably in recent days, the Texas Roller Derby, that went just amazingly. . . . During the party today, I was wearing the T-shirt from one the teams there—everybody loved it.

What would you have done differently?
I’m anxious to go back to teaching tomorrow morning, at the École Nationale de Beaux-Arts of Paris, after two weeks of a fantastic vacation in Sicily.


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