Félix González-Torres

1957–1996

Félix González-Torres was born in Guáimaro, Cuba, in 1957. He earned a BFA in photography from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York, in 1983. Printed Matter, Inc. in New York hosted his first solo exhibition the following year. After obtaining an MFA from the International Center of Photography and New York University in 1987, he worked as an adjunct art instructor at New York University until 1989. Throughout his career, González-Torres's involvement in social and political causes as an openly gay man fueled his interest in the overlap of private and public life. From 1987 to 1991, he was part of Group Material, a New York–based art collective whose members worked collaboratively to initiate community education and cultural activism. Employing simple, everyday materials (stacks of paper, puzzles, candy, strings of lights, beads) and a reduced aesthetic vocabulary reminiscent of both Minimalism and Conceptual art to address themes such as love and loss, sickness and rejuvenation, gender and sexuality, González-Torres asked viewers to participate in establishing meaning in his works. (bio info via guggenheim.org)

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