Crossing Borders: Felix Gonzalez-Torres

Cuban-born Felix Gonzalez-Torres first came to New York in 1979 as a student, and he continued to live in the US until his untimely death from AIDS in Miami in 1996. He became known for a poetic brand of Conceptual art-making that confronted themes of queerness and mourning in the era of the AIDS crisis. Learn about Gonzalez-Torres and other immigrant artists:

Our digital exhibition “Crossing Borders,” presented as part of our #CitizensBorders initiative, showcases works from MoMA’s collection by artists who immigrated to the U.S., often as refugees in search of safe haven. Explore all the works at

[Felix Gonzalez-Torres (b. Cuba. 1957–1996). “Untitled” (Perfect Lovers). c. 1991. Gift of the Dannheisser Foundation. © 2017 The Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation, Courtesy Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York]

Elliott Hundley at Andrea Rosen Gallery

A woman calmly looks out from a storm of activity in this detail from a new collage by Elliott Hundley at Andrea Rosen Gallery, suggesting that she is uniquely adapted to life in an environment of overload. Countless masks, eyes and assorted circular shapes - from lotus slices to flowers – are equal parts portal to another world and big brother. (In Chelsea through March 11th). Elliott Hundley, (detail of) Until the end, paper, oil, pins, glass, lotus, plastic, foam and linen over panel, 96 ½ x 80 ¼ x 8 ½ inches, 2017.
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[Felix Gonzalez-Torres. “Untitled” (Perfect Lovers). 1991. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. © 2016 The Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation, Courtesy Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York]

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Felix Gonzalez-Torres was born on this day in 1957. Installations of his “Untitled” (America) can vary: composed of twelve strings of light bulbs, the work can be shown inside or outside, in an unlimited range of configurations. This work is one of a number by Gonzalez-Torres that includes the word “America” in its title. The light from the bulbs might resonate as cheerful in one context and melancholy in another, leaving viewers to reflect on their own associations with the idea of “America.”

[Felix Gonzalez-Torres, “Untitled” (America), 1994 (96.74.1a-l) as installed in the stairway of the Whitney Museum of American Art. © The Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation Courtesy of Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York. Photograph by Ronald Amstutz]

Félix González-Torres (American, 1957 - 1996): Untitled (Perfect Lovers), 1987

A Colossal New Show Revisits a Conceptual Art Icon (NYTimes):

“…When she closed her gallery, (Andrea) Rosen sent out an email blast recounting a story about Gonzalez-Torres preparing for a 1994 show at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington D.C., not long after Senator Jesse Helms shut down a Robert Mapplethorpe exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery in that city for being “indecent.” Senator Ted Stevens, who had previously accused the museum of, in the words of the Washington Post, “pushing a left-leaning political agenda,” was threatening to visit Gonzalez-Torres’s show “to find a reason to close it down,” Rosen wrote. She recalled the artist saying he couldn’t wait for Stevens to see his two clocks touching. He said that the work would make the senator “think of himself and his wife and at that moment there can be no recourse because his own ability to be moved by two clocks side by side, ticking together, will mean that my love is equal to his love.”

Love is love.