ed. By Robin Adele Greeley. Cultural Agents Initiative at Harvard University Press, July 2016. 636 p. ill. ISBN 9780674504707 (pbk.), $50.00.
Reviewed January 2017
The Logic of Disorder: The Art and Writing of Abraham Cruzvillegas is a substantial volume consisting, mostly, of the written creative work of contemporary artist Abraham Cruzvillegas. The book has two main sections, “Artist’s Dossier” and “Critical Dossier.” The “Artist’s Dossier,” making up the majority of the book, consists of essays by the artist himself in a first-person narrative style. Cruzvillegas explores a variety of themes including his own work, Mexico, culture, aesthetics, art in general, and other artists. He also writes on personal topics, such as his family and his upbringing. He gives readers a fascinating look at the area where he grew up, just south of Mexico City, which was settled by squatters. In one essay, a critique on the idea of curatorship, Cruzvillegas forms an analogy between the art world and Muay Thai boxing. In another, he considers the idea of writing as performance art by reprinting an email interview of himself conducted by artist Jimmie Durham. Cruzvillegas is a writer in his own right and The Logic of Disorder is meant to be a creative work in itself. His writing style is, at once, intelligent, critical, and lucid. Most of the essays are short, adding to the works eminent readability.
The “Critical Dossier” is a series of analytical essays about the work of Cruzvillegas by scholars and art historians. The book also includes a foreword by Harvard Pre-Columbian art historian Thomas B. F. Cummins and an introduction written by the volume's editor, Robin Adele Greeley.
Illustrations in the main body of the text are sparse and in black and white, but there are sixty-six pages of color illustrations at the end of the book. The title includes extensive footnotes and a list of the artist’s creative works, awards, and education. The book is bound with two separate soft covers, the outermost of which was worn at the edges after one reading.
The Logic of Disorder is a critical yet accessible peek into the work and life of this contemporary Mexican artist, and it is the first volume of the artist’s writings published in English. Individuals doing research on the artist will be well-served by this invaluable offering; that said, readers should already be familiar with the work of Cruzvillegas before picking up this title. The Logic of Disorder is recommended for libraries in colleges and universities that teach art history, studio art, or visual culture at the graduate level.