By Crash redaction

On Monday, March 27th at 7pm, Andrea Rosen Gallery invites you to celebrate the release of the book “Felix Gonzalez-Torres: Specific Objects Without Specific Form” at the Whitney Museum of American Art, 99 Gansevoort Street, New York City.

Cuban-born American artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres passed away in 1996. He was deeply moved by Walter Benjamin’s The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,  and we can see the ideas developed by Benjamin apparent in the artist’s repetitive use of society’s mass-produced materials, such as his famous piles of candies. His work lies at the edge of minimalism, conceptual art, and political gesture. Also evident in his art is his sincere conviction that traces of our past and our experiences in life resonate in the act of creation.

In this book, we have objects on one hand and their presentation method on the other.
How do we negotiate the object and its form within the space of a particular venue, gallery, or museum – especially as the shifting exhibition travels from New York to Europe?

Curator Elena Filipovic has exhibited Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s work with Danh Vo (at WIELS, Brussels), Carol Bove (at the Fondation Beyeler, Basel), and Tino Sehgal (at the Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt am Main). Andrea Rosen Gallery in New York City represents Gonzalez-Torres.

The exhibition opens a true dialogue between the curator and the artists inspired by Gonzalez-Torres’s art: these artists have an opportunity to change their conception of space and of how to hang works. In addition, the exhibition is a form of constant creation, where the artists lay down the law. In every room, we discover a different side of Gonzalez-Torres’s work. Somewhere in the course of the exhibition – generally at the midpoint – each object is moved by an artist and the curator in order to present a new facet of the installation.

So what we see in this exhibition is, of course, artwork by Gonzalez-Torres, but also a reflection of each guest artist’s personal conception of this art: we ponder how they see his art and how they want to present it. Perhaps their choices carry strong personal motivations, allowing them to highlight certain aspects of his work or even hide other aspects. In this way, they are fully in charge of dictating our gaze: the spectator is wholly at the mercy of these artists. Ultimately, what we have is several different exhibitions in one: each installation is a pure representation of the will of each guest artist.

Thus the work conveys the philosophical concept of “presentism,” which stresses the importance of the present moment as an expression of the pure moment of creation. In fact, the creation lives in the present itself.

The concept of travelling, perpetual change, the special feature of one precise moment, and the active participation of the spectator, as in Bertolt Brecht’s theory of drama, are strong convictions for Gonzalez-Torres.

As it presents images from all of these exhibitions at the same time, the book offers us a chance to catch these ephemeral perspectives on Gonzalez-Torres’s creation.

Whitney Museum of American Art
Andrea Rosen Gallery

Written by Sarah Konté

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