Valdir Cruz ‘Presences’ captures the spirits of the Brazilian rainforest

Valdir Cruz is a Brazilian-born, Guggenheim Award-winning, New York fine art photographer. He is represented by Throckmorton Fine Art.

Valdir Cruz Presences sees what nobody else sees

Presences is Cruz’s seventh solo exhibition at Throckmorton. It is a selection of vintage gelatin silver prints from three projects: Faces of the Rainforest, The Water’s Way (O caminho das águas), and Roots (Raízes).


Valdir is from Guarapuava, a small town in Parana state in southern Brazil. It’s a rich land of pampas and forests and gauchos. Valdir has that Brazilian knack for making things with his hands.

There is something creative in his hands. They go to work like an army of ants. Valdir is a New Yorker, but he is really from some other world.

New York Latin Culture’s Review of Valdir Cruz Guarapuava

Some people find their vocation, Some vocations find their people

Valdir Cruz 'Presences' courtesy of the artist / Throckmorton Fine Art

Valdir Cruz ‘Presences’ courtesy of the artist / Throckmorton Fine Art

In the late 1970s, Valdir was a young Brazilian laborer in New York. A photographer found him. Then a native shaman found Valdir and took him home to live among the people of the Brazilian / Venezuelan Amazon rainforest.

When Valdir puts his focus on you, it’s like suddenly coming face-to-face with a wild animal in the jungle. He does that. Valdir will just appear out of nowhere at the very moment that you think of him. But that wild animal can disappear in the blink of an eye. Valdir is not being rude, he is just deep. To engage him, you have to go deep too and be able to stay there.

Valdir won a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1996 for Faces of the Rainforest.

Valdir has a studio in Greenwich Village. It is practically a rainforest museum. Valdir has the artist’s challenge of living in one place while your soul is somewhere else. Only a big soul can handle this well.

Valdir Cruz Collections

Cruz’s work is in notable collections at:

  • Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City
  • Museu de Arte de São Paulo (MASP) in Brazil
  • New York Public Library
  • Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas
  • Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.

Valdir Cruz Publications

  • Retratos de Afeto. São Paulo: Terra Virgem Edições, 2017
  • Guarapuava. São Paulo: Terra Virgem Edições, 2013
  • Bonito – Confins do novo mundo. São Paulo: Capivara Editora, 2010
  • Raízes – Árvores na paisagem do Estado de São Paulo. São Paulo: Imprensa Oficial, 2010
  • caminho das águas. São Paulo: Cosac Naify, 2007
  • Carnaval, Salvador – Bahia – 1995/2005. New York: Throckmorton Fine Art, 2005
  • Faces da Floresta – Os Yanomami. São Paulo: Cosac Naify, 2004
  • Faces of the Rainforest – The Yanomami. New York: powerHouse Books, 2002
  • Faces of the Rainforest. New York: Throckmorton Fine Art, 1997
  • Catedral Basilica de Nossa Senhora da Luz dos Pinhais. New York: Brave Wolf Publishing, 1996

Valdir Cruz Presences is worth seeing, not for what you would expect to see, but for what you don’t expect to see. It may appear suddenly, like Valdir does, or it may stalk you quietly in the shadows of the night. You can only find out what it is in the presence of Valdir’s work.

Valdir Cruz 'Presences' courtesy of the artist / Throckmorton Fine Art

Valdir Cruz ‘Presences’ courtesy of the artist / Throckmorton Fine Art

Valdir Cruz Presences is a Throckmorton Fine Art in Midtown East, Manhattan from Friday, December 8, 2017 through Saturday, February 24, 2018.

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