Felix Gonzalez-Torres, original name Félix González-Torres (born Nov. 26, 1957, Guáimaro, Cuba—died Jan. 9, 1996, Miami, Fla., U.S.), Cuban-born American sculptor, photographer, and conceptual artist known for work in a variety of media that addresses issues of identity, desire, originality, loss, the metaphor of journey, and the private versus the public domain. Like many artists of the 1980s, Gonzalez-Torres used the postmodern strategy of appropriating ready-made motifs and objects to create his art, thereby challenging the idea of the unique art object that was so much a hallmark of Modernism.

Gonzalez-Torres grew up in Cuba and Puerto Rico and then Spain before moving to New York City in 1979 to study at Pratt Institute. He received a B.F.A. in photography in 1983 and then an M.F.A. from the International Center of Photography in 1987. That year, with Julie Ault and Doug Ashford, he formed a New York-based artists’ collaborative, Group Material. In their highly political staged exhibitions, the collaborative examined such issues as consumerism, democracy, and the relationship of artist, art object, and viewer. These concerns continued to engage Gonzalez-Torres in his individual work as well.

Homosexual identity and its socially and politically fraught representation was another topic that the openly gay artist examined. He made subtle references to his own life and set these autobiographical records in public spaces to challenge the boundary between private and public. An example of this is his Untitled (Billboard) (1991), a black-and-white photograph of a recently occupied tousled double bed that was displayed on two dozen billboards throughout Manhattan.

Gonzalez-Torres is perhaps best known for producing works of art that encourage the viewer to interact with the art. His stacks of variously printed papers appear to be minimalist sculptures but differ profoundly from those objects because the artist invites the viewer to take a sheet and makes the gallery’s replenishment of the stack a part of the exhibition. Appropriated images and text printed on these takeaway sheets were often subtly political or poignantly romantic. By possessing a sheet of paper (or a piece of candy—another of Gonzalez-Torres’s assembled materials) from an artwork, the viewer collaborates with the artist in demystifying the art object while participating in the universal modern consumer experience.

The same spirit of collaboration pervades the artist’s candy spills. Piled usually in the corners of galleries or spread across a gallery floor—again, like minimalist floor installations—the candy sculptures had a designated ideal weight; pieces of candy were intended to be replenished by the exhibitors as the supplies were depleted. Gonzalez-Torres chose evocative weights, specifying that one such sculpture have a weight of 175 pounds (80 kg) to represent the ideal weight of the average male while also referring to the weight loss and eventual death of his HIV-positive partner, Ross Laycock. However commonplace the objects with which Gonzalez-Torres worked, his art seemed suffused with a poignant poetry. For Untitled (Perfect Lovers) (1991), he synchronized two industrial clocks placed side by side. Inevitably, because batteries fail and things tend toward entropy, the clocks would slowly begin to advance at differing rates, out of sync, having moved, however briefly, perfectly together.

In all his works—including billboards, stacked prints, text installations, jigsaw puzzle photographs, strings of light, and found objects—Gonzalez-Torres wished to include the viewer as an active agent in producing the work’s meaning. He set private memories and nostalgic journeys into the public sphere, hoping to help viewers transcend the personal to arrive at a collective experience about the social good and the human spirit. Gonzalez-Torres died of AIDS-related illness in 1996. In 2007 he became the second American artist (after Robert Smithson) to be posthumously selected to represent the United States at the Venice Biennale. (Smithson, who died in 1973, was selected in 1982.)

Felix Gonzalez-Torres
Felix Gonzalez-Torres
Guáimaro, 1957
Cuba

Current Exhibitions

More / Less

de la Cruz Collection

01 Dec — 30 Nov
More / Less groups works by several international contemporary artists, produced during the last thirty years. The exhibition wants to investigate shifts in contemporary visual culture creating a mutual dialogue between...

Past Exhibitions

MCMXXXIV

Massimo De Carlo, Casa Corbellini-Wassermann
09/03/2019 — 18/05/2019

Space Shifters

Hayward Gallery
26/09/2018 — 06/01/2019

True Stories: A Show Related to an Era – The Eighties

Galerie Max Hetzler, Goethestraße
14/09/2018 — 27/10/2018

Open at Night – Festival of Lights

Villa Medici 16/12/2017 — 28/01/2018

Face and Form

de la Cruz Collection
01/12/2017 — 30/11/2018

Solo Shows

2012
Felix Gonzalez-Torres. PLATEAU, Seoul, South Korea, and Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea. 21 Jun. – 28 Sept. 2012. Cur. Soyeon Ahn.

2011
Specific Objects without Specific Form. MMK Museum fur Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, Germany. 28 Jan – 25 Apr 2011. Cur. Elena Filipovic, including curated version by Tino Sehgal. Catalogue.

2010
Specific Objects without Specific Form. Fondation Beyeler, Basel, Switzerland. 21 May – 29 Aug. 2010. Cur. Elena Filipovic, including curated version by Carol Bove starting in late July. Catalogue.
Specific Objects without Specific Form. Wiels, Brussels, Belgium. 16 Jan. – 2 May. 2010. Cur. Elena Filipovic, including curated version by Danh Vo, 5 Mar. – 2 May. 2010. Catalogue.
Somewhere/Nowhere [Algún lugar/Ningún lugar]: Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, Mexico City, Mexico. 27 Feb. – 23 May 2010. Cur. Sonia Becce. Catalogue.
Felix Gonzalez-Torres Billboard Project. Artpace Foundation, San Antonio, TX. Jan. – Dec. 2010. Cur. Matthew Drutt. Catalogue.

2008
Somewhere Nowhere. Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires (MALBA) – Colección Constantini, Buenos Aires. 5 Sept. – 3 Nov. 2008. Cur. Sonia Becce. Catalogue.

2007
Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. 8 Nov. 2007 – 4 Jan. 2008. Cur. Helen Molesworth.
Felix Gonzalez-Torres: America. The United States Pavilion, Giardini della Biennale, 52nd International Art Exhibition, la Biennale de Venezia [the Venice Biennale], Italy. 6 June – 21 Nov. 2007. Commissioned by Nancy Spector. Catalogue.
Felix Gonzalez-Torres: “Untitled” (For Jeff). Museo Alameda, San Antonio, TX. 29 Jan. – 29 July 2007. Cur. Laura Esparza.

2006
Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin. 1 Oct. 2006 – 9 Jan. 2007. Cur. Frank Wagner. Organized by Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst (NGBK), Berlin. Catalogue.
Felix Gonzalez-Torres: Early Impressions. El Museo del Barrio, New York. 24 Feb. – 21 May 2006. Cur. Elvis Fuentes. Brochure.

2004
Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, CA. 1 Apr. – 29 May 2004.

2002
Felix Gonzalez-Torres: Perfect Lovers. Giraud Pissarro Segalot, New York. 3 – 24 May 2002.
[Travels to Giraud Pissarro Segalot, Paris. 4 – 22 June 2002] .
It’s Just a Matter of Time. Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York. 30 Mar. – 4 May 2002.
[Simultaneous exhibition at Sadie Coles HQ, London. 20 Mar. – 20 Apr. 2002. Book; Galleria Massimo de Carlo, Milan. 8 Apr. – 5 May 2002. Exhibited in Italy as È Solo Una Questione di Tempo [It’s Just a Question of Time]; With global satellite sites of the billboard in the cities of Athens, Berlin, Bogotá, Cambridge, Dublin, Kirkwall, London, Milan, New Delhi, New York, Orkney Isles, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Tokyo, Warsaw, Zurich].

2001
Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Lever House lobby, New York. 7 Dec. 2001 – 15 Feb. 2002. Cur. Richard D. Marshall.
Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Le Consortium, Dijon, France. 25 Nov. 2001 – 2 Feb. 2002. Cur. Eric Troncy. [As part of “I Love Dijon” festival].

2000
Félix González-Torres. El Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales, Montevideo, Uruguay. 14 Dec. 2000 – 31 Jan. 2001. Cur. Patricia Bentancur and Alejandro Cesarco. Catalogue.
Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York. 2 Dec. 2000 – 13 Jan. 2001. Brochure. [In conjunction with the display of 24 billboards throughout the New York City area].
Paris, Always Paris. Galerie Jennifer Flay, Paris. 10 Nov. – 23 Dec. 2000.
Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Serpentine Gallery, London. 1 June – 16 July 2000. Cur. Lisa G. Corrin. Catalogue.
[With satellite venues: Camden Arts Centre, Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, Royal College of Art, Victoria and Albert Museum, and Royal Geographical Society, London].

1999
Sin Título, Bogotá. Banco de la República, Biblioteca Luis Ángel Arango, Bogotá, Colombia. 10 Nov. 1999 – 16 Jan. 2000. Cur. . Catalogue.
[Travels to: The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin. 9 Dec. 1999 – 31 Jan. 2000. Shown under the title Felix Gonzalez-Torres; El Museo Alejandro Otero, Caracas, Venezuela. 2 Apr. – 9 July 2000. Shown under the title Sin Título, Caracas/Félix Gonzalez-Torres; Museu de Arte Moderna, São Paulo, Brazil. 9 Aug. – 9 Sept. 2001].
Felix Gonzalez-Torres: Snapshots. Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY. 26 Sept. – 18 Dec. 1999. Catalogue.

1998
Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York. 4 Dec. 1998 – 16 Jan. 1999.
Felix Gonzalez-Torres. The Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide. 4 July – 2 Aug. 1998. Organized by Christopher Chapman. Brochure.
Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Comme des Garcons, Tokyo. 10 May 1998.

1997
Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Sprengel Museum in Hannover, Germany. 1 June – 24 Aug. 1997. Cur. Dietmar Elger. Catalogue.
[Travels to: Kunstmuseum St. Gallen, Switzerland. 6 Sept. – 16 Nov. 1997. Cur. Roland Wäspe; Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien [Vienna], Austria. 12 Sept. – 1 Nov. 1998. Cur. Rainer Fuchs].
“Untitled” (Beginning). Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York. 3 – 25 Jan. 1997.

1996
Felix Gonzalez-Torres (Girlfriend in a Coma). Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France. 11 Apr. – 16 June 1996. Cur. Suzanne Pagé, Béatrice Parent, and Nancy Spector. Catalogue. [Third Venue of the 1995 Guggenheim Museum exhibition].
FotoSeptiembre: Felix Gonzalez-Torres: Acto de Presencia. Museo Rufino Tamayo, Mexico City. 21 Sept. – 30 Nov. 1996. Cur. Manuel Gonzalez. Brochure.

1995
Felix Gonzalez-Torres (A Possible Landscape). Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea, Santiago de Compostela, Spain. 12 Dec. 1995 – 3 Mar. 1996. Cur. Gloria Moure and Nancy Spector. Catalogue. [Second Venue of the 1995 Guggenheim Museum exhibition].
“Untitled” (Vultures). Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York. 8 Sept. – 14 Oct. 1995.
Felix Gonzalez-Torres. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. 3 Mar. – 10 May 1995. Cur. Nancy Spector. Catalogue.

1994
Felix Gonzalez-Torres: Details from Twenty Sculptures. Printed Matter, New York. 26 Oct. – 24 Nov. 1994.
Felix Gonzalez-Torres: Traveling. The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles. 24 Apr. – 19 June 1994. Co-organized by Amanda Cruz, Ann Goldstein and Suzanne Ghez.
[Travels to: The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. 16 June – 11 Sept. 1994. Brochure; The Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, IL. 2 Oct. – 6 Nov. 1994. Catalogue].
Felix Gonzalez-Torres. The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia. 14 Feb. – 31 Mar. 1994.
[In conjunction with Beaver College Art Gallery, Glenside, PA. 14 Feb. – 14 Mar. 1994].
Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Matrix Gallery, the University of California, Berkeley. 19 Jan. – 27 Mar. 1994. Cur. Larry Rinder.

1993
Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Museum in Progress, Vienna. Dec.1993 – Jan. 1994.
Felix Gonzalez-Torres: Travels; Travel #1. Galerie Ghislaine Hussenot, Paris. 30 Oct. – 1 Dec. 1993.
Felix Gonzalez-Torres: Travels; Travel #2. Galerie Jennifer Flay, Paris. 30 Oct. – 1 Dec. 1993.
Migrateurs: Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France. 27 Oct. – 28 Nov. 1993.
Currents 22: Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Teweles Gallery, Milwaukee Art Museum, WI. 28 May – 12 Sept. 1993. Cur. Dean Sobel. Brochure.
Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York. 23 Apr. – 29 May 1993.

1992
Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Magasin 3 Stockholm Kontshall, Stockholm. 15 Oct. 1992 – 15 Jan. 1993. Catalogue.
Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Galerie Peter Pakesch, Vienna. 10 Oct. – 14 Nov. 1992.
Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York. 18 – 27 June 1992.
Projects 34: Felix Gonzalez-Torres. The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), New York. 16 May – 30 June 1992. Brochure. [With billboards in 24 New York City locations].

1991
Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Galleria Luhring Augustine Hetzler, Los Angeles. 19 Oct. – 16 Nov. 1991.
Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Massimo de Carlo, Milan. 17 Sept. – 19 Oct. 1991. Catalogue.
Every Week There is Something Different. Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York. 2 May – 1 June 1991. [A four-part project by Felix Gonzalez-Torres].

1990
Visual Aids: Billboards. Billboard project with 10 locations throughout New York. Dec. 1990 – Jan. 1991. Sponsored by INTAR Gallery with funds from the Lannan Fundation. [In conjunction with Day Without Art 1990].
Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York. 20 Jan. – 24 Feb. 1990.

1989
“Quatrenium” Sculpture Project. Petrocino Park, New York. 7 June – 30 Aug. 1989. Sponsored by the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council.
“Untitled” (Billboard). Sheridan Square, New York. Mar. – Sept. 1989. Sponsored by the Public Art Fund.
Untitled: An Installation by Felix Gonzalez-Torres as part of the Visual Aids Program. Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York. 1 Dec. 1989 – 1 Jan. 1990.

1988
The Workspace: Felix Gonzalez-Torres. The New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York. 16 Sept. – 20 Nov. 1988. Cur. Laura Trippi.
Félix González-Torres. INTAR Latin American Gallery, New York. 1 Mar. – 8 Apr. 1988. Catalogue.
Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Rastovski Gallery, New York.

Group Shows

2013
Candy. BlainSouthern, London. 15 Oct. – 30 Nov. 2013. Cur. Mario Codognato

2010
A cerain distance, endless light. A project by Felix Gonzalez-Torres and William McKeown. Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art, Middlesbrough, UK. 5 Mar. – 4 July 2010. Cur. Gavin Delahunty.

2009
Paired, Gold: Felix Gonzalez-Torres and Roni Horn. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. 2 Oct. 2009 – 2 Jan. 2010.
Cur. Nancy Spector.
Floating a Boulder: Works by Felix Gonzalez-Torres and Jim Hodges. FLAG Art Foundation, New York. 1 Oct. 2009 – 31 Jan. 2010. Cur. Jim Hodges.

2008
Robert Gober, Felix Gonzalez-Torres: A Shadow Leaving An Object. Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York. 12 Dec. 2008 – 31 Jan. 2009.

2006
Felix Gonzalez-Torres and Agnes Martin. Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York. 16 Nov. 2006 – 20 Jan. 2007. [The third in a series of two-person exhibitions exploring Gonzalez-Torres’s affinities with other artists].

2005
Felix Gonzalez-Torres and Roni Horn. Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York. 31 Mar. – 30 Apr. 2005. [The second in a series of two-person exhibitions exploring Gonzalez-Torres’s affinities with other artists].
Felix Gonzalez-Torres and Joseph Kosuth. Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York. 20 Jan. – 18 Feb. 2005. Catalogue. [The first in a series of two-person exhibitions exploring Gonzalez-Torres’s affinities with other artists].

2001
Felix Gonzalez-Torres/Joseph Beuys. Dallas Museum of Art, TX. 16 Feb. – 6 May 2001. Cur. Charles Wylie. Brochure.

2000
Change of Scene XVIII: Paare [Couples]: Gilbert & George and Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main, Germany. 29 Sept. 2000 – 4 Mar. 2001. Cur. Mario Kramer. Catalogue.

1995
Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Roni Horn. Akademie der Bildenden Künste, München [Munich]. 16 May – 28 Oct. 1995. Organized by Sammlung Goetz [The Goetz Collection]. Catalogue.

1994
Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Rudolf Stingel. Neue Galerie am Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz, Austria. 28 Jan. – 6 Mar. 1994. Cur. Peter Weibel. Catalogue.
A series of rotating installations providing the opprotunity for the gallery to realize the juxtaposition of various works: Felix Gonzalez-Torres and On Kawara. Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York. 1 – 5 Nov. 1994. [Week 2 of larger exhibition series. 26 Oct. – 26 Nov. 1994].

1993
Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Christopher Wool. Printed Matter, New York. 30 Mar. – 21 Apr. 1993.

1991
Félix Gonzáles-Torres, Michael Jenkins. Galerie Xavier Hufkens, Brussels, Belgium. 20 Mar. – 20 Apr. 1991.

1990
Cady Noland, Felix Gonzalez-Torres: Objekte, Installationen, Wandarbeiten. Neue Gesellschaft für Bildende Kunst, Berlin. 17 Dec. 1990 – 30 Jan. 1991. Cur. Frank Wagner. Catalogue.
[Travels to: Museum Fridericianum, Kassel, Germany. 8 Feb. – 17 Mar. 1991].
Strange Ways, Here We Come: Felix Gonzalez-Torres and Donald Moffett. University of British Columbia Fine Arts Gallery, Vancouver, Canada. 16 Nov. – 22 Dec. 1990. Cur. Scott Watson. Catalogue.

Contacts & Details

City of birth: Guáimaro Country of birth: Cuba Date of birth: 1957