During his lifetime, his work took on different forms and can be seen as a synthesis of profound personal experiences and astute political-social observation, which allowed him to reflect on public aspects of policies toward and the treatment of marginalized minorities.  His work was structured around different series that he developed through the repetition of very simple formal structures:  graphs, jigsaw puzzles, stacks of paper, heaps of candies, strings of electric light bulbs, bead curtains and posters.

This show includes his most emblematic series, created between 1987 and 1995, which  are famous for challenging museum-goers to be more than mere spectators; he wanted them to become participants in the evolution and dissemination of his work.  Without being strident or using slogans, González-Torres questioned and subverted such notions as private property, authorship, and art collecting.  He wanted to let some of his works be  “dissolved” by the public through simple appropriation: by eating a piece of candy or walking off with a sheet of paper.  

Although Félix González-Torres said that each work should be continually replenished, there is something subversive in this action,  allowing and encouraging the act of walking off with a piece of the work.  This subversive aspect is not tinged with violence nor does it allude to direct, frontal or declamatory political action.  Perhaps it has to do with an aesthetic intervention that is able to 'cut into line', so to speak, between social production and the private appropriation of commodities.


González-Torres downplayed the  dramatic quality of the themes he dealt with.  His work brims with lyricism while bravely approaching these themes in a cautious way to demonstrate that, even though it is an idea generally associated with emotional manipulation and deceptive feelings, it is possible to introduce sentiment into contemporary art.  It also shows that it is possible to promote a clearly political discourse without sacrificing subtlety and beauty.



Félix Gónzales-Torres

Authors : José Luis Barrios, Sonia Becce, Guillermo Santamarina

Language : Spanish & English


Price: $490