Cruz Ortiz is in constant search for strategies related to understanding the ability of humans to “want”. In doing so, he creates models that investigate tangible methods of getting what he refers to as “My Love”. Often depicted in his work is his lovesick alter ego, the starry-eyed SPAZTEK (part spastic, part Aztec), who is on a constant quest of his own. “The labor of this investigation has made me realize the romantic, transient and clandestine gestures as pathetic. It’s difficult to realize hope in a time of distress, but then, I get up and keep walking,” states Ortiz.
Ortiz, born in Houston in 1972, lives and works in San Antonio. He uses print, performance and film to address issues related to growing up in the bicultural landscape of South Texas. Grounded in the history of art; contemporary art practices; and social, political and cultural movements, Ortiz's unique language fuses classical icons with symbols of contemporary pop culture such as taco trucks, canned beans and his alter ego SPAZTEK. He engages the public with interactive works such as wheat paste murals, communal art events, guerilla AM radio broadcasts and ephemeral street sculptures.
He has had solo exhibitions at the Contemporary Arts Museum in Houston (2010) and during his residency at Artpace in San Antonio (2005). Ortiz’ work has been included in major international exhibitions and institutions including the Louvre in Paris (2004), curated by Victor Zamudio-Taylor; EV-A in Limerick, Ireland (2005), curated by Dan Cameron; the traveling exhibition Phantom Sightings with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2008), curated by Rita Gonzelez, Howard Fox and Chon Noriega; the San Juan Triennial in San Juan, Puerto Rico (2004), curated by Harper Montgomery; and a group exhibition at The Blue Coat Museum in Liverpool, England (2011).
In 2012, Ortiz launched HECHO FARM at the University of Texas at Austin Visual Arts Center, a multi-purpose urban design effort that explored the material, social and political possibilities of collaboration within an art educational context.
b. 1972 Houston, TX
Lives and works in San Antonio, TX
2000 BFA, Concentration in Printmaking; University of Texas at San Antonio
I Speak Lightning; David Shelton Gallery; Houston, TX
HECHO FARM; Visual Arts Center, Universtity of Texas at Austin; Austin, TX
Phantom Sightings (group); Los Angeles County Museum of Art; curated by Rita Gonzalez, Howard Fox, and Chon Noriega; Los Angeles, CA
But Still I'd Leap in Front of a Flying Bullet for You (group); Artpace Artist-in-residence Program, curated by Victor Zamudio-Taylor; San Antonio, TX
Coyote Girl Steals the Raspa (group); Ev+a; curated by Dan Cameron; Limerick, Ireland
Coyote Girl Steals the Raspa (group); San Juan Triennial; curated by Harper Montgomery; San Juan, Puerto Rico
El Corrido de el Super Taco Gone Bad (solo); The Louvre; curated by Victor Zamudio-Taylor; Paris, France
Coyote Girl Steals the Raspa (solo); The Dallas Center for Contemporary Art; curated by Joan Davidow; Dallas, TX
Spaztek Gets a Job (solo); Artpace; curated by Katheryn Kanjo; San Antonio, TX
2 Tacos for 99 Cents (solo); San Antonio Museum of Art; curated by George Neubert; San Antonio, TX
Spaztek y La Love Mix (group); ARCO Madrid; curated by Cuahtemoc; Madrid, Spain