HOUSTON – April 11, 2018 – Building on the success of its inaugural art installation, Buffalo Bayou Partnership (BBP) is proud and honored to present a unique site-specific environment by world-renowned artist Carlos Cruz-Diez in the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern, a 1926 underground city reservoir that BBP restored, repurposed and revealed in 2016. Carlos Cruz-Diez at the Cistern: Spatial Chromointerference will open to the public on Saturday, May 12, 2018.
The Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern, a structure reminiscent of the ancient Roman cisterns in Istanbul, is a cavernous, 87,500-square-foot-space featuring more than 200 slender, 25-foot high concrete columns. BBP re-discovered the Cistern in 2010 when it was developing the $58-million Buffalo Bayou Park project, a 160-acre green space west of downtown Houston. Recognizing the significance of the highly unusual site, BBP took a bold step to repurpose the Cistern into a magnificent public space. In addition to tours highlighting the history and architecture of the Cistern, BBP presents an ambitious program of changing art installations in this iconic space. BBP opened the Cistern in 2016 and the inaugural art exhibition, Rain: Magdalena Fernández at the Houston Cistern, was on view from December 2016 to June 2017. Since opening, the Cistern has welcomed over 65,000 visitors.
For the second art installation in the Cistern, BBP commissioned pioneering artist Cruz-Diez to create the site-specific Spatial Chromointerference. Considered to be one of the fathers and greatest figures of Kinetic and Optical art, Cruz-Diez’s wide-ranging body of work includes unconventional color structures, light environments, street interventions, architectural integration projects and experimental works.
“When Carlos Cruz-Diez expressed interest in working in the Cistern, we were not only honored but thrilled about the possibility of bringing his mastery of color and movement into this industrial space. The artist, the entire Atelier Cruz-Diez team and Sicardi Gallery have all been incredibly generous with their time and resources to realize this truly immersive experience that will be unique to the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern,” says Judy Nyquist, BBP Board Member and Co-Chair of the organization’s Public Art Committee.
Cruz-Diez’s Spatial Chromointerference (1974/2018) creates a situation in space involving the dematerialization, transfiguration, and ambiguity of color through movement. By projecting moving chromatic interference modules on objects and people, these become transparent and virtually change condition and form. The spectator becomes both actor and author of a complete chromatic event, which evolves through space.
For the Buffalo Bayou Park Cistern, Cruz-Diez conceived an ephemeral and participatory work integrated into the architecture of the urban space, the objective being to radically change the experience of color. Twenty-six projectors will be placed in the Cistern to project moving lattices of light on the columns, interior walls, walkways and on cubes floating in the shallow pool of water on the Cistern floor. This aerial projection, reinforced by its reflection on the water, will create a space where everything loses its materiality. Color becomes not merely a visual object to see but a space to be experienced.
“With this presentation of Carlos Cruz-Diez’s outstanding work, Buffalo Bayou Partnership is solidifying a robust organizational infrastructure for the Cistern to sustain an on-going art program of global importance,” says BBP President Anne Olson
The Cistern’s distinctive architecture as well as its sheer size and raw interior, punctuated by a series of rhythmical columns, will make for an intriguing and interactive experience. Visitors to Carlos Cruz-Diez at the Cistern: Spatial Chromointerference will be encouraged to wear white or light colored clothing and will actively participate in viewing as the color changes creating a sensation of movement.
About Buffalo Bayou Partnership
Established in 1986, Buffalo Bayou Partnership (BBP) is the non-profit organization transforming and revitalizing Buffalo Bayou, Houston’s most significant natural resource. BBP’s geographic focus is the 10-square mile stretch of Buffalo Bayou from Shepherd Drive to the Port of Houston Turning Basin. BBP has raised and leveraged more than $150 million for the redevelopment and stewardship of the waterfront – spearheading award-winning projects such as Sabine Promenade and Sesquicentennial Park, protecting land for future parks, constructing hike and bike trails, and operating comprehensive clean-up and maintenance programs. Buffalo Bayou Partnership also seeks ways to activate Buffalo Bayou through pedestrian, boating and biking amenities; volunteer activities; permanent and temporary art installations; and wide-ranging tours and events that attract thousands.
In 2015, BBP completed transformation of the 160-acre Buffalo Bayou Park that lies west of downtown Houston. Enhancement of the park was a collaboration of BBP, the Kinder Foundation, the City of Houston through Houston Parks & Recreation Department and Harris County Flood Control District. Buffalo Bayou Park includes beautiful gardens and native landscaping; hike and bike trails; paddle craft and bike rentals; the go-to dog park in the city; nature play area; two visitor centers; the Cistern; and gathering places for visitors to picnic, relax and enjoy outdoor activities. Buffalo Bayou Partnership maintains and operates the park with annual funding provided by the Downtown Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) #3.
About Carlos Cruz-Diez:
The Franco-Venezuelan artist Carlos Cruz-Diez (Caracas, 1923) has lived and worked in Paris since 1960 and is considered to be one of the greatest artistic innovators of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. He is a major protagonist in the field of Kinetic and Optical art, a movement that encourages “an awareness of the instability of reality.” He is a master of color and line, adept at creating fluid, participatory visual experiences.
Cruz-Diez’s visual art explores the perception of color as an autonomous reality evolving in space and time, unaided by form or support, in a perpetual present. His artworks are housed in prestigious permanent collections at institutions such as: Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York; Tate Modern, London; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and Wallraf-Richartz Museum, Cologne.