The only work with moving parts was Transchromie Manipulable (1963), a double row of transparent strips of colored Plexiglas affixed to rods that extended upward from a chrome base. Passersby could set the piece in motion and rearrange overlapping colors by running their fingers across the plastic slats.
In the Physichromies (2013), slivers of Plexiglas were inserted between painted stripes, sometimes subdivided into tapering shapes. Works called Inducción Cromática (2012 and 2013) came to life through optical blends of adjacent colors that seemed to produce new hues. Cruz-Diez’s ability to turn broad bands of pinstripes into feathery shapes or to shift one color scheme to another in response to a viewer’s changing position might be explained in scientific terms, but that is not the point. The artist’s stated goal is to “launch color into space”: at that, he is an enormous success.
A version of this story originally appeared in the September 2014 issue of ARTnews on page 106.