Felix Gonzalez-Torres

Drawing from the traditions of Minimalism and Conceptual Art, Felix Gonzalez-Torres created installations and sculptures that function as personal and political meditations on private and public life. Often referred to as process art, Gonzalez-Torres’s work focused on ideas of formation and decay: he combined household and found objects that have the potential to change over time, while also working with more enduring materials such as puzzles, light strings, and photographs.

Public interactivity was an integral part of some of his most iconic pieces. In “Untitled (Strange Bird)”cthe paper stacks “sit silent like tombstones or anti-monuments” depicting black clouds with a singular bird in flight, representing power of the individual spirit referring to Gonzalez-Torres’s experience with AIDS and the effect it had on his life. The precarious shape, weight and composition are slowly diminished, as the audience is invited to take pieces away with them. However in this case “to eliminate is to complete” with the final act of the audience, the artwork gains a life of its own and is replenished by the gallery.

Gonzalez-Torres emphasized the thematic universality of his pieces; whereas he was deeply affected by the AIDS epidemic while working, the artworks themselves have ongoing political relevance. He was heavily influenced by Conceptual artists such as Joseph Kosuth and Lawrence Weiner.