See How Op Artist Carlos Cruz-Diez’s Last Work Defies the Test of Time

The late artist, who passed away earlier this year, collaborated with Hublot on a new watch.
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Venezuelan op artist Carlos Cruz-Diez may have passed away earlier this year, but his legacy lives on. His prolific oeuvre alone has a lasting effect, but the world now has a chance to experience one last new work via an extraordinary project that debuted on Thursday night at Art Basel Miami Beach.

Cruz-Diez, who has earned a reputation as one of the twentieth century’s greatest color theorists and artistic innovators, often said, “Color is light, time, and space. Color is not in the past; it is a continuous present.” This sentiment deeply influenced the new work he created, in collaboration with none other than luxury watchmaker Hublot.

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At an industrial space on Thursday, some guests took in a number of Cruz-Diez’s works as they hung on the walls, while others marveled at the lights as they cast multi-colored stripes reminiscent of the artist’s kinetic artworks across the room. But while both of these were incredibly captivating, most attendees waited in anticipation for the unveiling of the new Hublot watch. Finally, guests got a glimpse at the Classic Fusion timepiece, whose face and strap feature Cruz-Diez’s iconic stripes in green, blue, and black. Available in two case sizes and three different metals—titanium, gold, and ceramic—the new collaboration has intended to create “a working piece of art that can be worn on the wrist,” shared Hublot CEO Ricardo Guadalupe.

Like most works in Op Art (short for optical art), things are not always as they seem, as Cruz-Diez’s son Carlitos Cruz demonstrated. As the watch's different hands move, so do the stripes, to the point that they are no longer stripes at all. 

The watch’s dial features two levels, both in rich Pantone hues. The hour hand sits on the top and the minute hand is on the bottom, and both drive a transparent disc featuring black lines to rotate. It is through this technology that the colors evolve every second throughout the 24-hour day.

While Art Basel is known for its fashion-meets-art parties, Hublot may have raised the bar even higher. In one week alone, the luxury watchmaker launched the new Cruz-Diez watch and introduced another piece in collaboration with American artist Shepard Fairey (the brand ambassador is known for his viral "Hope" portrait of President Obama). As if that alone wasn’t enough, the brand also unveiled a new piece of wall art by Fairey in Wynwood and fêted the re-opening of its Miami Design District boutique, the Hublot Galerie. All of the week’s festivities were dubbed "Hublot Loves Art," and after this year's Art Basel Miami Beach, one could easily see how that statement rings true.


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