The Big Dig: Emilio Cruz • I Am Food I Eat the Eater of Food

December 22, 2020

Emilio Cruz with the "Life On Earth" drawings, 2002. (Photo: Anthony Barboza)

Press Release

To view The Big Dig: Emilio Cruz • I Am Food I Eat the Eater of Food, click this link.

Corbett vs. Dempsey is delighted to present Emilio Cruz • I Am Food I Eat the Eater of Food, the gallery's seventh installment of The Big Dig.

This online exhibition centers on Cruz's final drawings, a collective series that was conceived in two parts under one title. Part One of I Am Food I Eat the Eater of Food was shown in Los Angeles during the last months of Cruz's life; the 23 panels of Part Two have not been exhibited until now. Featuring an introductory essay, an extensive interview with Patricia Cruz (the artist's wife and sometimes collaborator), a written meditation on the series by the artist himself, and the eulogy delivered by poet and critic Amiri Baraka at Cruz's memorial, this Big Dig offers a rich context in which to consider these powerful drawings. Together with colleagues including Bob Thompson and Red Grooms, Cruz (1938–2004) was one of the pioneering figures of figurative expressionism in New York and an integral part of the independent downtown art scene. He showed with Virginia Zabriskie Gallery and Martha Jackson Gallery in the 1960s before moving to the Midwest for a decade, returning to New York in the 1980s, where he had solo shows at the Alternative Museum and the Studio Museum in Harlem.

Born of nerdy fascination, each edition of The Big Dig descends into the rabbit-hole of a tight curatorial concept, excavating a body of work, a thematic idea or a particular medium, a new development or a historical moment. Exclusive images, interviews and essays provide works the kind of rich sense of context that ethnographers refer to as "thick description."

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