gonzalez torres

Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Sheridan Square

[…] the Sheridan Square piece rejects a conventional ‘political’ roll-call of heroic achievements, and presents history in a far more complex way, out of chronological order, melding different types of events from the murder of gay San Francisco politician Harvey Milk to the formation of communitybased organizations in response to HIV/AIDS. History is thus specifically not presented as a seamless progressive narrative, expressing some supposedly unified historical force or will. Rather, events and institutions coexist, as in memory, in no particular order or sequence beyond that of our own active interpretive making. The ‘private’ defiantly invades ‘public’ space. (x)

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]

Don’t be afraid of the clocks, they are our time, time has been so generous to us. We imprinted time with the sweet taste of victory. We conquered fate by meeting at a certain time in a certain space. We are a product of the time, therefore we give back credit were it is due: time. We are synchronized, now and forever. I love you.
—  Felix Gonzalez-Torres

Felix Gonzales-Torres - “Untitled” (Portrait of Ross in L.A.)

An allegorical portrait of the artist’s partner, Ross Laycock, who died of an AIDS-related illness in 1991.

It is comprised of 175 pounds of candy, corresponding to Ross’s ideal body weight. Viewers are encouraged to take a piece of candy, and the diminishing amount parallels Ross’s death.

Gonzalez-Torres stipulated that the pile be continuously replenished, granting perpetual life.

On World AIDS Day, we remember artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres, who died from the disease in 1996, and all those we’ve lost. This evocative photograph Gonzalez-Torres took of his own bed is especially poignant given the loss of his partner, Ross Laycock, in the year he produced the work. 

[Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Untitled. 1991. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. © The Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation, New York. Photo by David Allison]