Alias:Félix González TorresFélix González-TorresFélix G. Torres
(b Guaimaro, Cuba, 1957; d Miami, Florida, 1996) Cuban-born American conceptual artist. Felix Gonzalez-Torres is known for his haunting photographs and installations inspired by the losses he experienced due to the AIDS epidemic, losses which were prevalent in his life as a gay American man. Gonzalez-Torres is widely recognized for his installations involving massive piles of mundane objects such as candy or printed poster in which exhibition visitors are encouraged to participate by removing pieces to take home. Such installations involving viewer participation and removal from the gallery setting question traditional notions of ownership and originality, and they also speak to the slow yet destructive process of death due to AIDS. Human interaction is a central component to his work. Not only do his installations reflect upon themes of the body, but they are meant to be physically engaged with as well. In 1983 Gonzalez-Torres received his BFA from the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York and his MFA in 1987 from the International Center of Photography at New York University. He then went on to work briefly as an adjunct art instructor at New York University before beginning his artistic career. In 1990 he had his first exhibition in New York. In 1991 he became a member of the artist collaborative Group Material. There have been several major retrospectives of his work including at the 1995 Solomon R. Guggenheim exhibition in New York and at the 2000 Serpentine Gallery in London. Gonzalez-Torres’s career spanned less than ten years and ended in 1996 when he passed away at age 38 due to AIDS.
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