Artist
Félix González-Torres
Cuban American artist

Disclaimer

Images

We do our best to use images that are open source. If you feel we have used an image of yours inappropriately please let us know and we will fix it.

Accuracy

Our writing can be punchy but we do our level best to ensure the material is accurate. If you believe we have made a mistake, please let us know.

Visits

If you are planning to see an artwork, please keep in mind that while the art we cover is held in permanent collections, pieces are sometimes removed from display for renovation or traveling exhibitions.

Félix González-Torres
Cuban American artist
0
Be the first to vote…

Date of Birth

November 26, 1957

Place of Birth

Guáimaro, Cuba

Date of Death

January 09, 1996

Place of Death

Miami, Florida, U.S.A.

More about Félix González-Torres

sjohnson's picture

Contributor

Twenty-three years since his last breath on earth, Felix Gonzalez-Torres is one of the most influential artists and art theorists today.

He synthesized a vast and unique number of influences, political, philosophical and aesthetic, including Marx and Engels, the Marxist playwright Bertolt Brecht, and the artists Carl Andre, Robert Ryman, and Jeff Koons.

Félix González Torres was born in 1957 in Guáimaro, Cuba. His parents sent him to an orphanage in Madrid where he stayed with his sister until going to live with an aunt and uncle in Puerto Rico in 1971. He was in Puerto Rico until 1979, when he moved to New York. The initial purpose of his migration to the U.S. was to study interior design at Pratt Institute, and, indeed, the majority of his installations are meditations on aspects of interior design, like Warhol's Silver Clouds. However, he would tell his interviewer that, "Pratt Institute is the most banal, empty-minded, crass place you could think of...Spend your money on a car but don’t waste it on Pratt."

Hearing words like those, you might figure González Torres for an anti-intellectual person, but this was not at all true. It's more appropriate to say that he often found influences and ideas by taking his own interpretations of theories of art and society into the world, into flea markets, for example, and that he often felt out of place in the straight white male environments of academia. In fact, he would emphasize, "the importance of reading '[Walter] Benjamin, Fanon, Althusser, Barthes, Foucault, Borges, Mattelart and others.'"

His approach was so effective that he was one of the few artists whose work I remember from childhood: his unique installation “Untitled” (Portrait of Ross in L.A.), a tribute to his late, beloved partner Ross Laycock, gave our third-grade class the opportunity to take home pieces of candy, and to re-evaluate our ideas of the limits and meanings of art. It made us part of his artwork, and that was a powerful feeling.

"How can you be feeling if you’re not in love?" he asked. "You need that space, you need that lifting up, you need that traveling in your mind that love brings, transgressing the limits of your body and your imagination. Total transgression."

 

Sources

Sources

  1. Bleckner, Ross. "Felix Gonzalez-Torres by Ross Bleckner." Bomb, Apr 1, 1995, https://bombmagazine.org/articles/felix-gonzalez-torres/.
  2. Bourriaud, Nicolas. Esthétique Relationelle. Dijon, France: Presses du réel, 1998.
  3. Cherry, Deborah. "Sweet Memories: encountering the candy spills of Felix Gonzalez-Torres." Transnational correspondence, special issue of Arte e Ensaios/Arts and Essays (2007): 96-109.
  4. "Floating a Boulder: Works by Felix Gonzalez-Torres and Jim Hodges," The FLAG Art Foundation, Jan 31, 2010, https://web.archive.org/web/20111008032032/http://www.flagartfoundation....
  5. Güner, Fisun. "Felix Gonzalez-Torres: playfully teasing, deadly serious." The Guardian, May 18, 2016, https://amp.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/may/18/felix-gonzalez-torr....
  6. McNamara, Andrew. "Illegible Echoes: Felix Gonzalez-Torres, the artist-spy." Image [&] Narrative [e-journal] 22 (2008). http://www.imageandnarrative.be/autofiction2/mcnamara.htm.
  7. Mosquera, Gerardo. "Remember My Name." In Felix Gonzalez-Torres, edited by Julie Ault. New York: SteidlDangin, 2006: 204-207.
  8. Rollins, Tim. "Felix Gonzalez-Torres, (interview)." In Between Artists: Twelve contemporary American artists interview twelve contemporary American artists. Edited by Lucinda Barnes, Miyoshi Barosh, William S. Bartman, and Rodney Sappington. Los Angeles:

Featured Content

Here is what Wikipedia says about Félix González-Torres

Félix González-Torres (November 26, 1957 – January 9, 1996) was a Cuban-born American visual artist. González-Torres's openly gay sexual orientation is often seen as influential in his work as an artist. González-Torres was known for his minimal installations and sculptures in which he used materials such as strings of lightbulbs, clocks, stacks of paper, or packaged hard candies. In 1987, he joined Group Material, a New York-based group of artists whose intention was to work collaboratively, adhering to principles of cultural activism and community education. González-Torres's 1992 piece "Untitled" (Portrait of Marcel Brient) sold for $4.6 million at Phillips de Pury & Company in 2010, a record for the artist at auction.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Félix González-Torres.