Andrea Rosen Gallery and David Zwirner present an exhibition of the work of Felix Gonzalez-Torres in various places throughout the world The Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation will launch its new website on May 23, 2020, in conjunction with the exhibition, beginning May 25, 2020
"Untitled" (Fortune Cookie Corner), 1990
Fortune cookies, endless supply
Overall dimensions vary with installation
Original installation: approximately 10,000 fortune cookies
Curated by Andrea Rosen May 25—July 5, 2020
May 5, 2020 –– Andrea Rosen Gallery and David Zwirner are pleased to present a live exhibition of Felix Gonzalez-Torres’ “Untitled” (Fortune Cookie Corner) in various places throughout the world. This exhibition invites an international group of 1,000 people to each manifest the work as a “place” as part of one total “site” of this expansive exhibition. Invitees who choose to participate will be given a set of parameters specifically for this exhibition, thus establishing a fresh set of artistic interventions. (A copy of the invitation to participants follows, including core tenets of the work, guidelines for its manifestation, and questions to consider.)
Participants will initiate the installation in their “place” with between 240 to 1,000 fortune cookies. In addition to this decision, each “place” will decide the location and configuration of the pile, beginning on May 25, 2020. Individuals must be permitted to take pieces from the work, and the participants will regenerate their piles (back to the amount with which they started) halfway through the presentation, on June 14. The exhibition will end on July 5, at which point any remaining fortune cookies will no longer be “the work.”
The exhibition recognizes this unique moment in 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. As Gonzalez-Torres was interested in his work providing an opportunity for questioning, some questions that may be broached by this work and this exhibition were provided to participants.
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. Here, each participant is asked to document the manifestation of the work throughout the course of the six-week exhibition, which may include the installation process, the work’s context, interaction with the work, and how the work ebbs and flows. This exhibition also addresses notions of audience and accessibility, and our understanding of public and private space. Documentation of this physical exhibition, “Untitled” (Fortune Cookie Corner), will be viewable on both Andrea Rosen Gallery’s website, under Live Projects, and David Zwirner’s website beginning May 25, 2020.
The Estate of Felix Gonzalez-Torres is co-represented by Andrea Rosen Gallery and David Zwirner.
Felix Gonzalez-Torres was born in Guáimaro, Cuba on November 26, 1957. He referred to himself as American. He lived and worked in New York City between 1979 and 1995. Gonzalez-Torres died in Miami on January 6, 1996 from AIDS-related causes. He began his art studies at the University of Puerto Rico before moving to New York City, where he attended the Whitney Independent Study Program, first in 1981 and again in 1983. He received his BFA from Pratt Institute, New York, in 1983 and his MFA from the International Center of Photography and New York University in 1987.
From 1987 to 1991, Gonzalez-Torres was a part of the artist collective Group Material, whose collaborative, politically-informed practice focused on community engagement and activist interventions. In 1988, he had his first one-man exhibitions, at the Rastovski Gallery, New York, INTAR Gallery, New York, and the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York. His earliest billboard work, "Untitled" (1989), was installed at New York's Sheridan Square on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion. In 1990, a solo presentation of Gonzalez-Torres's work served as the inaugural exhibition of the Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York.
Felix Gonzalez-Torres: Traveling, a survey of the artist's work, was presented at The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC, and the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago in 1994. In 1995, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, organized an international traveling retrospective of his work. The artist participated in numerous group shows during his lifetime, including early presentations at Artists Space and White Columns in New York (1987 and 1988, respectively), the Whitney Biennial (1991), the Venice Biennale (1993), and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1995) and the Art Institute of Chicago (1995).
In 1997, the Sprengel Museum Hannover, Germany, organized a traveling posthumous solo exhibition and published a catalogue raisonné of the artist's work. Further solo exhibitions of his work were held at such institutions as The Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide (1998); The Douglas Hyde Gallery, Dublin (1999-2000); El Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales, Montevideo, Uruguay (2000-2001); Serpentine Gallery, London (2000); Le Consortium, Dijon (2002); and Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin (2006). In 2007, Gonzalez-Torres was selected to represent the United States at the 52nd Venice Biennale.
More recently, in 2010-2011, WIELS Contemporary Art Center, Brussels, organized a six-part traveling retrospective, Felix Gonzalez-Torres: Specific Objects without Specific Form, which was also presented at the Fondation Beyeler, Basel, and Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt. At each institution, Elena Filipovic curated a retrospective version of the exhibition which was reconsidered midway through its run by a collaborating artist-curator: Danh Vo, Carol Bove, and Tino Sehgal, respectively. Further exhibitions devoted to the artist's work have been held at PLATEAU and Leeum, Samsung Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea (2012); Metropolitan Arts Centre, Belfast, Northern Ireland (2015); and Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai, China (2016).
In June 2019, the Public Art Fund presented the artist’s first billboard, which was unveiled in the West Village in New York in 1989.
Invitation sent to 1,000 people throughout the world to participate in the live exhibition
“Untitled” (Fortune Cookie Corner):
Andrea Rosen Gallery and David Zwirner gallery, in recognition of this globally significant moment and in reflection of the ever-relevant and flexible nature of Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s work, invite you, and 999 other diverse invitees, to become an active part of the total “site” of an expansive physical exhibition. You are invited to be a “place” in the official installation of a work by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, in the location of your choosing, by following the parameters of this exhibition:
"Untitled" (Fortune Cookie Corner), 1990
Fortune cookies, endless supply
Overall dimensions vary with installation
Original installation: approximately 10,000 fortune cookies
Curated by Andrea Rosen May 25 - July 5, 2020
The opening of this exhibition is also in honor of and in conjunction with the launch of the Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation’s new website
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. When lending the work, the owner is thereby temporarily lending to the authorized borrower the owner’s rights and responsibilities to take on these decisions and interpretations, specifically for the length of the loan. This work is lent to this exhibition courtesy of a private collection. The curator and representative of the authorized borrower for this exhibition is Andrea Rosen.
CORE TENETS of "Untitled" (Fortune Cookie Corner), 1990 [and all Gonzalez-Torres candy works]:
The work can exist in more than one place at a time, as its uniqueness is defined by ownership.
An intention of the work is that it can be manifested with ease.
When the work is manifest, individuals must be permitted to choose to take pieces from the work.
The owner (or authorized borrower) has the right to determine if and how the work is regenerated during the course of an exhibition/installation.
The owner (or authorized borrower) has the right to interpret/choose the mode, configuration, and placement of installation for each manifestation.
The work exists even if it is not manifest.
A manifestation of the work is only the work if it is installed by the owner or in the context of an authorized loan.
An authorized manifestation of the work is the work, and should only be referred to as the work.
The curator / representative of the authorized borrower has made the following decisions for this manifestation of the work, for this exhibition. THESE DECISIONS ARE THE PARAMETERS SET FORTH FOR THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN INVITED AND CHOOSE TO PARTICIPATE:
1. The “site” of this exhibition is made up of as many “places” as those who have received an invitation from the authorized borrower and have chosen to participate by manifesting the work within these parameters.
2. This exhibition will begin on Monday, May 25, 2020. On this date, the fortune cookies used to manifest the work will become “the work.”
3. Each “place” will source and choose the fortune cookies that they use. Gonzalez-Torres stated that whenever possible, fortune cookies with optimistic fortunes should be used.
4. Each “place” will choose the amount, between 240 - 1,000 fortune cookies, that they will use to initiate the installation. In order to fulfill parameter 7 below, and in anticipation of potential interactions with the work, it will be required to order double the amount of fortune cookies used in the initial installation. (FYI: preliminary research indicates that 350 fortune cookies may cost approximately $30.) (Keep in mind that depending on your sourcing, given the current conditions, it may take a couple of weeks to order and receive the fortune cookies, and that each “place” is intended to install the work by May 25.)
5. Each “place” will choose a location in which to install the work, in a pile.
6. In accordance with the core tenets of the work, individuals must be allowed to take pieces from the work.
7. On Sunday, June 14 (halfway through the exhibition), each “place” will regenerate its pile back to the amount of fortune cookies used to initially create the pile, using the same type of fortune cookies.
8. Before and after June 14, the pile should not be regenerated.
9. The exhibition will end on Sunday, July 5. At that point, any remaining fortune cookies will no longer be “the work.”
10. It is requested that each participant document the manifestation of the work in its “place” throughout the course of the six-week exhibition. While we are interested in receiving whatever images each “place” feels are relevant or additive, it would be compelling to have representation of such things as: the installation process, the work’s context, interaction with the work, how the work ebbs and flows, and anything that might reflect variations among different “places.” (This approach to documentation is in line with the way the Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation has represented each work by Gonzalez-Torres on its new website.) We request that these images be accompanied by: a record of the date each image was taken, to help establish chronology; photo credit for each image; the way each “place” would like to be listed for the project including city and country (“anonymous” is an option). (Video content is also of interest.)
It is understood that by providing these images, you are providing copyright-free permission for their use in online and print publications related to this exhibition, and for non-commercial use by the Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation, including on its website.
Please send documentation to: email@example.com. Andrea Rosen Gallery will process the documentation as well as donate it to the Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation for future use. Andrea Rosen Gallery and David Zwirner intend to maintain active portals on their websites documenting this exhibition during its run. As these portals will be active and evolving, please feel free to send images on a rolling basis, or whenever it is convenient. We also anticipate a future publication for this exhibition.
Please feel free to post on Instagram or other social media platforms. While it will be a compelling part of this exhibition that people who were not officially invited may make and post piles of fortune cookies that relate to the exhibition (but therefore would not officially be the work), in order to indicate an official “place,” we ask that “places”/invitees use #FGT🥠exhibition. We also ask that you tag @felixgonzaleztorres.foundation.
An ongoing aspect of the documentation of Gonzalez-Torres’s work has been to accumulate exhibitors’ firsthand experiences with the work. So at the end of the exhibition, please feel free to share feedback on your experiences as a “place,” if you so choose. Including such things as: potentially unexpected experiences; additional questions that may have come up for you (in consideration of or in addition to the questions posed below); factors considered in making decisions; how the installation did or did not change throughout the exhibition; etc.
11. Let us know if you accept our invitation to become a participant/“place” in the total “site” of this exhibition, and inform us how you would like to be listed in project records, including city and country (“Anonymous, City, Country” is an option), by writing to:
firstname.lastname@example.org by May 16.
In choosing to participate, you are playing many roles: a facilitator, a part of the total “site,” a viewer, an audience member, the public…
AS GONZALEZ-TORRES WAS INTERESTED IN HIS WORK PROVIDING AN OPPORTUNITY FOR QUESTIONING, SOME THINGS TO THINK ABOUT:
As this exhibition makes us think about how we almost exclusively conceive of exhibitions as happening in what we refer to as public spaces, it also invokes questioning of the arbitrary separations we create between the broader notions of public and private (a central topic in Gonzalez-Torres’s work). In what ways do we use these conceptual separations to limit our individual senses of responsibility? How has this historic moment shifted our perceptions of public and private space? How does this lead us to think about ideas of accessibility?
Anyone could source and place a quantity of fortune cookies in a pile, but when does such an installation become a work by Felix Gonzalez-Torres? How does Gonzalez-Torres's work help us think about value systems? How does this work engage, expand, or subvert distinctions between owner, audience, exhibitor, and participant?
One of the core tenets of this work is that it exists even when it is not manifest. What does this mean to us as humans? As most of us are currently isolated, how does this aspect of the work – that it can exist without being physically present – make us think about how even though we may be out of sight, our actions and intentions still have effect?
In light of conversations around the environment and sustainability, how does Gonzalez-Torres’s work help us consider how art may evolve to be in line with our future?
Many of Gonzalez-Torres’s works, including candy works and paper stacks, address the capacity for immortality through regeneration, heightened by the experience of loss and depletion within the works. As you experience the work in your “place” and have the opportunity to regenerate the work halfway through the exhibition (especially in this historic moment in time), how might the work help you reflect on the relationship we have to out and out loss, and the intertwined relationship between loss and regeneration and/or renewal?
Because this current pandemic is affecting nearly everyone globally, how does this exhibition, which is purposefully situated in this time, address the fact that feelings of compassion and empathy are often linked to personal impact and experience? And how does this exhibition, that hopefully addresses the unseen relationships among all the “places” in the total “site,” potentially change our relationship to empathy and connection? And how does it make us think about our reactions to other crises, both current and past?
Gonzalez-Torres was very specific about what was included in a work’s caption, yet he was also interested in the potential for overt inconsistencies between the purposeful static nature of a caption and the purposeful malleability within each manifestation of many of his works (such as: the shape, configuration, size, materials used...). How do we address our own attachments to ideas like “original” or “ideal?”
“Untitled” (Fortune Cookie Corner) will look and evolve differently within the individual “places” of the exhibition, while these “places” remain part of one total “site” of the exhibition. Did the experience provide a sense of continuity or connection with others? Did you feel like you were part of a whole? Or did it emphasize your sense of isolation?
There are many works by Gonzalez-Torres that could have been chosen for this exhibition, to similar effect. How does this work, and its implicit connections to chance, hope, the unknown, resonate in this moment?
We’re interested in hearing the questions this exhibition brought up for you.
We look forward to you exploring the Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation’s new website, launching May 23