This lecture will seek to identify and examine the most important themes emerging from Close’s work since 2000. While it will trace certain of these back across Close’s long career, it will not purport to provide exhaustive coverage of the artist’s accomplishments over the past five decades. The lecture will use as a starting point Close’s new experimental and collaborative approaches that have been described as “problems and processes” and exemplify the innovative nature of Close’s work and the manner in which it confronts and challenges the study of modern art. It will trace Close’s continual experimentation and innovation throughout his career and will explore the nature of his art and its influence on other contemporary artists using linked concepts such as viewing and perception, reality and cognition and memory and mapping.

An Art Historian with expertise in African and Caribbean artistic, visual, and religious practices. Professor of Art History at Havana’s High Institute from 1993-1997. Martínez-Ruiz completed his masters and doctoral studies in the History of Art department at Yale University in 2004. He served as an adjunct professor at Rhode Island School of Design from 2002-2004 and joined the Stanford Department of Art and Art History in 2004. He recently published a book on systems of graphic writing in central Africa and Cuba titled Kongo Graphic Writing and Other Narratives of the Sign, Temple University Press, 2013 (English) and El Colegio de México, 2012 (Spanish). Other books include a reframing the work of Afro-British artist, Faisal Abdu’Allah (Faisal Abdu’Allah: On the Art of Dislocation), Atlantic Center of Modern Art Press, 2012 and Art and Emancipation in Jamaica: Isaac Mendes Belisario and his Worlds, Yale University Press, 2007, for which he received the College Art Association Alfred H. Barr Award.
Current curatorial projects and publication include Digital Objects: A Retrospective of Chuck Close, an exhibition and publication examining the work of American artist Chuck Close that will open at the Centro Atlántico de Arte Moderno (CAAM) in the Canary Islands in 2015. Furthermore, he was appointed senior editor in 2013 of the Cuban Studies Magazine and guest editor in 2014 of Transition magazine at Harvard University. Forthcoming books and exhibitions include Spirituality in the art of the Caribbean. He has been appointed researcher for the Pacific Standard Time Initiative at The Getty Research Institute and guest curator at the Museum of Latin American Art, Los Angeles California.