Felix Gonzalez-Torres

Exposición: Ene 1 – Dic 31, 2010

In celebration of its 15th anniversary, Artpace presented a year-long, statewide exhibition featuring the work of one of its most renowned alums, Felix Gonzalez-Torres (International Artist-in-Residence Spring 1995).

Artpace sited billboards in Dallas, El Paso, Houston, and San Antonio for the first-ever comprehensive survey of Gonzalez-Torres’s Billboards in the United States, organized by past Executive Director Matthew Drutt. Thirteen images created by Gonzalez-Torres between 1989 and 1995 were drawn from poetic moments in the artist’s life, and rotated throughout the year on six billboards in each city.

Felix Gonzalez-Torres was born in 1957 in Cuba, and grew up in Puerto Rico before moving to New York City. He died of AIDS in 1996, just one year after his residency at Artpace. His works complicate the questions of public and private space, authorship, originality, and the role of institutionalized meaning. He used everyday materials-electric light fixtures, paired wall clocks, and beaded curtains to express themes of love, mortality, loss, and absence. The transcendent quality of Gonzalez-Torres’s Billboard works will be undeniably magnified by the Texas landscape. Moving beyond the walls of the institution with this publicly sited exhibition, Artpace aims to both capture the attention of cultural travelers and provide an enriching source of inspiration for the communities in which the works are installed.

The project was made possible with major funding provided by the Linda Pace Foundation, commemorating founder Linda Pace’s extraordinary gesture to encourage public access to contemporary art in Texas. Generous in-kind support is provided by Clear Channel Outdoor.

Untitled (Beginning)


Felix Gonzalez-Torres

New York, New York, USA

Felix Gonzalez-Torres (1957-1996) lived and worked in New York City. His bibliography lists shows in major museums and galleries across this country and in Europe, including solo exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Hirschhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington, D.C., and the Renaissance Society in Chicago. A major survey of his work was held at the Guggenheim Museum in February 1995, curated by Nancy Spector.
Gonzalez-Torres is known for his use of simple materials to express often complex, even conflicting notions. His medium is paper, pieces of wrapped candy, a string of lights, or a beaded curtain. The environment for his work can be the cityscape surrounding one of his billboards – this is his “outdoor art,” he specifies, not public art. “Just because it’s out on the street doesn’t make it public.” Or his audience may be the individual collector who purchases an empty box on the promise that the artist will fill it – over time – with objects. Gonzalez-Torres’ work is exhibited in museums and art galleries, reaching the usual audience through unusual means. He arranged stacks of paper, sheets of which were available to anyone who wanted to take them. The unlimited edition of paper was then replenished from time to time, maintaining the work within the artist’s required parameters. The artist said, “I want my artwork to look like something else, non-artistic yet beautifully simple.”
According to Simon Watney, London-based critic and writer:
Gonzalez-Torres finds and mobilizes materials which may function as analogies for experience and emotions which are not “explained” in any extended biographical supplementary exegesis. They are works about love, desire, loss, death, and mourning… They encourage us to make as many associative connections as we like in relation to the materials assembled before us, as well as in relation to previous work.
The possibilities seem endless. The artist’s work reflects sensitivity to his Hispanic roots, but does not conform to a predetermined cultural persona or preoccupation; his work confronts issues related to his gay identity through elegant metaphor.

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