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Felix Gonzalez-Torres

American, born Cuba, 1957–1996

Untitled (Double Portrait), 1991

Offset print on paper (endless supply)
39 3/8 x 27 1/2 inches (100 x 69.9) each sheet

Purchased jointly by Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo with funds from Charles Clifton, James S. Ely, Charles W. Goodyear, Sarah Norton Goodyear, Dr. and Mrs. Clayton Peimer, George Bellows and Irene Pirson Macdonald Funds; by exchange: Gift of Seymour H. Knox, Jr. and the Stevenson Family, Fellows for Life Fund, Gift of Mrs. George A. Forman, Gift of Mrs. Georgia M. G. Forman, Elisabeth H. Gates Fund, Charles W. Goodyear and Mrs. Georgia M. G. Forman Fund, Edmund Hayes Fund, Sherman S. Jewett Fund, George B. and Jenny R. Mathews Fund, Bequest of Arthur B. Michael, Gift of Mrs. Seymour H. Knox, Sr., Gift of Baroness Alphonse de Rothschild, Philip J. Wickser Fund and Gift of the Winfield Foundation; and Tate, London, with assistance from the American Fund for the Tate Gallery and the Latin American Acquisitions Committee, 2010

Felix Gonzalez-Torres based his practice on simple methods and ephemeral forms to interrogate complex social and political issues surrounding community, identity, memory, loss, and the human condition. Gonzalez-Torres was an openly gay Latin artist during the height of the AIDS epidemic in the late 1980s and early 1990s, but his practice, by nature, evades typecasting. Fusing Minimalism and post-Minimalism with an emotional, political Conceptualism, his best-known works incorporate everyday, seemingly lighthearted forms and materials such as mounds of candy, strings of lights, stacks of paper, doubled circular forms, jigsaw puzzles, mirrors, photographs, beads, and billboards. Untitled (Double Portrait), 1991, is a “stack” piece consisting of hundreds of sheets of paper printed with a gold double-circle image and stacked together on the gallery floor, available for viewers to take away ad infinitum. The image featured, the doubled touching/overlapping circle, represents one of the most important themes in Gonzalez-Torres’s work: the pairing of two like people in togetherness, solidarity, and love. These Minimalist-inspired “anti-monuments,” as the artist considered them, symbolize the acts of loss and regeneration as well as a deconstruction of the traditional “look but don’t touch” rules of the institutional framework.

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