Luis Cruz Azaceta was born in Havana, Cuba. As a teenager, he witnessed many acts of violence on the streets of Havana which created within him a sensitivity towards violence, human cruelty, injustice and alienation—later these became central themes in his work. At 18 years-old, Cruz Azaceta left Cuba for New Jersey then, New York City. In 1969 he graduated from the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan.
Azaceta’s visual language has a powerful sense of distortion, highlighting a juxtaposition of agony and humor. The artist’s fearlessness and determination to explore controversial issues has gained him recognition as a key figure in American contemporary art. In 2009 he received the Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant, which followed other important fellowships and grants, from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the Cintas Fellowship for Cuban artists. Luis Cruz Azaceta’s work is in important collections such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Smithsonian Institute of Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MARCO) of Monterrey, Mexico, and the Fine Arts Museum of Caracas, Venezuela.