Saturday, January 12, 2008

Félix González-Torres

From my review of the recently closed Félix González-Torres installation at Harvard’s Carpenter Center, though you can still see a version of it at the Williams College Museum of Art through March 23, 2008:
Félix González-Torres’s 1993 sculpture Untitled (Placebo — Landscape for Roni), a single-work exhibition in the lobby gallery of Harvard’s Carpenter Center, is a floor-filling sea of hard candy in gold wrappers.

González-Torres, a Cuban-born, Puerto Rican–raised, New York conceptualist minimalist sculptor who died of AIDS at age 38 in January 1996, provided few instructions for how the work was to be installed: an “endless supply” of candy in gold wrappers, arrange it however you want, visitors can take pieces, but the gallery must replenish them so that it maintains a weight of about 1200 pounds. He liked leaving things open to interpretation. . . .

González-Torres’s work is usually marked by a soft, polite, gentle, generous beauty. He would install blue curtains to change the tone of a room, or strings of white lightbulbs that evoke the romance of old cinema marquees. His modest style was a tonic for the macho minimalist sculpture that began in the 1960s. But here [Helen Molesworth, contemporary art curator for the Harvard Art Museums,] works in that earlier mode. Her placement of the candy disrupts foot traffic through the room, forcing people to walk to the left, around the bench and the candy, to get to the office doors at the right. In classic minimalist fashion, it makes us notice our surroundings and our physical relationship to them, which we often ignore. It just doesn’t feel like González-Torres.
Read the rest here:

Felix Gonzalez-Torres “Untitled (Placebo-Landacape-For Roni),” Carpenter Center, Harvard, 24 Quincy St., Cambridge, Nov. 8, 2007, to Jan. 4, 2008.

Please forgive me for posting this review after the show closed – other obligations and the holidays got me behind on posting, and I’m just now finally getting around to catching up.


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