Largely known as a sculptor, Angel Orensanz has developed a multidisciplinary body of work since the early 1990s, embracing elements of performance, conceptual art and video that often carry a marked political and social commentary.
The Angel Orensanz Center is housed in a neo-Gothic structure built as a synagogue on the Lower East Side in 1849. It was design by Berlin architect Alexander Seltzer, who drew inspiration for his plan from the Cathedral of Cologne and the German Romantic movement.
Like dozens of nearby synagogues, the building fell into decay after World War II. The Angel Orensanz Foundation bought the building for use by the artist as a studio in 1986, and afterward expanded its use to various educational and cultural purposes. Contemporary art and workshops are held in its art gallery. Every year several cultural events are held at the center. These include the Heinrich Heine Festival; the West Belfast-New York City Festival; and Berlin-Transfer (a symposium of philosophers and scientists with the Senate of Berlin).
Institutions such as P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center; Goethe Institute; Italian Cultural Institute; New York University; and Columbia University, as well as independent artists from all over the world, have used the center as a venue for a range of educational and artistic projects. Thus, in a relatively short time the center has become a collaborative partner in the visual and performing arts. The center also maintains a branch in Paris.