As the COVID-19 pandemic has completely swept the established order off its feet, the art world seized this unique moment in history by creating and displaying art in a whole new way. While the outcome of the health crisis we are currently experiencing is incredibly devastating, it has long been said, that some of the greatest works of art to have ever been conceived, were created in times of extreme hardship. This idea sheds light on one of art’s greatest powers; its ability to transcend a collective human experience through time. Because of this, the symbolism and meaning behind certain artworks can be altered or emphasized by means of a changing world.
On May 25th, Andrea Rosen and David Zwirner gallery present a virtual exhibition of the work of Felix Gonzalez-Torres in various places throughout the world, in which the piles of candy that you might recognize him for, have been swapped with something else, and the result is nothing short of creative ingenuity.
Felix Gonzalez-Torres is considered one of the most important artists of the 90s and was involved in a lot of political activism during the AIDS epidemic (to which he lost his partner Ross Laycock to). His most famous body of work consisted of piles of candy, where he invited viewers to leave their experience of the work with something (physical) they could take with them, the way we hang on to a lost loved one’s ashes or an old key-chain.
Curated by Andrea Rosen, this exhibition invites an international group of 1000 people to each manifest the work as a “place” as part of one total “site” of this expansive exhibition. An integral part of the work at the center of this exhibition, "Untitled" (Fortune Cookie Corner), 1990 (and of many of Gonzalez-Torres’s other malleable works), is that the owner has the right to make certain decisions and
interpretations of the specific yet open-ended parameters of the work, each time they manifest the work. Audience members who wish to participate, will be given a set of parameters specifically for this exhibition, thus establishing a fresh set for artistic interventions. Much of Gonzalez-Torres’s work asks owners, curators, participants, and viewers alike to engage with his oeuvre beyond the confines of an institution or gallery space.
The exhibition recognizes this crucial moment in our history, and reflects the ever-relevant and flexible nature of the work of Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Like many of Gonzalez-Torres’s works, including his candy works and paper stacks, “Untitled” (Fortune Cookie Corner) addresses the capacity for immortality through regeneration, heightened by the experience of loss within these works.