In the early 1990s, one American artist came to prominence for his subtle, yet critically charged practice, characterized by carefully arranged installations that tackled the notion of loneliness, time, loss, sickness, and sexuality. It was Félix González-Torres, a unique and rather influential figure who developed recognizable vocabulary based on the strategies inherited from both Minimalism and Conceptual art.
Alongside early dateline installations, billboards, his activity as a member of the New York-based artist collaborative called Group Material, and other works, this prolific artist who died in 1996 of complications affiliated with AIDS, is perhaps best known for his outstanding participatory works that aim to engage people in both physical and intellectual manner.
One of those iconic pieces, titled Untitled (Fortune Cookie Corner) was made by González-Torres in 1990; this installation made of the endless pile of fortune cookies was an open work for consumption, mediation, and interpretation.
In May 2020, Andrea Rosen Gallery and David Zwirner jointly launched a live exhibition centered on the remake of Untitled (Fortune Cookie Corner) in a global context by inviting people to participate in the process.
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- Felix Gonzalez-Torres "Untitled" (Welcome Back Heroes) 1991 Bazooka Bubble Gum, endless supply Overall dimensions vary with installation Ideal weight: 200 kg (440 lb.) - Installation view of Cady Noland, Laurie Parsons, and Felix Gonzalez-Torres. Musée d’art moderne et contemporain (MAMCO), Geneva, Switzerland. 31 May – 10 Sep. 2017. Cur. Paul Bernard and Lionel Bovier. Photo by Kimihiko Nakamura - Installation view of Felix Gonzalez-Torres. The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY. 3 Mar. – 10 May 1995. Cur. Nancy Spector. - Installation view of No Man’s Time. Villa Arson, Nice, France. 7 Jul. – 30 Sep. 1991. Cur. Eric Troncy. Catalogue. Photo by Jean Brasille - #felixgonzaleztorres #felixgonzaleztorresfoundation
The leading idea behind this project is to revisit the multilayered practice of Félix González-Torres at the unprecedented historical moment the world is experiencing at the moment.
Similarly to the artist’s other piled works with candy and paper stacks, Untitled (Fortune Cookie Corner) explores the potential of the idea as an artwork or vice versa to become immortalized through regeneration. The participation aspect of the piece should unravel new insights, connotations, and observations about the notion of loss in a symbolic sense, and in a physical sense the notion of the originality of the artwork, the art system, as well as the socio-political context of translation.
The participants are therefore invited to construct the installation in their “place” with between two hundred and forty to one thousand fortune cookies, without having to follow given direction to any specific location and configuration of the pile. The individuals are encouraged to take the cookies from the work, while the participants are to regenerate their piles back to the exact initial amount.
This exhibition invites an international group of a thousand people, including artists, collectors, colleagues, and friends of González-Torres and Rosen, to each manifest the work according to the given set of parameters specifically for this exhibition, thus establishing a fresh set of artistic interventions.
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- Felix Gonzalez-Torres "Untitled" (Revenge) 1991 Blue candies in clear wrappers, endless supply Overall dimensions vary with installation Ideal weight: 325 lb. - Installation of "Untitled" (Revenge). Front Desk Apparatus, New York, NY. 1 Oct. – 31 Oct. 2019. - - #felixgonzaleztorres #felixgonzaleztorresfoundation
By reenacting Untitled (Fortune Cookie Corner), the exhibition organizers tend to empower an immediate interaction with González-Torres’s work outside the institutional framework within their own places of choice. Each participant is given a unique chance to test out different modalities of art-making, curation, and musealisation and become part of a wider debate related to the contemporary notion of audience and accessibility in the digital era, as well as a new understanding of public and private space in the time of the pandemic.
The gathered documentation of the global physical presentation of Untitled (Fortune Cookie Corner), will be featured on both Andrea Rosen Gallery’s website, under Live Projects, and David Zwirner’s website beginning 25 May 2020. The visitors will be able to access this astonishing initiative online until 5 July 2020 when the remaining fortune cookies will no longer be part of the work.
The new website of The Félix González-Torres Foundation will also be launched on May 23, 2020.
Featured image: Felix Gonzalez-Torres - Untitled (Fortune Cookie Corner), 1990. Fortune cookies, endless supply. Overall dimensions vary with installation. Original installation: approximately 10,000 fortune cookies. Various installations. Photo courtesy of Andrea Rosen Gallery and David Zwirner.
New York City, United States of America