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PWC Afternoon Lot 791 Gonzalez Torres
Felix Gonzalez-Torres (1957-1996)
1 More
Property from a Private New York Collection
Felix Gonzalez-Torres (1957-1996)

"Untitled" (March 5th) #2

Details
Felix Gonzalez-Torres (1957-1996)
"Untitled" (March 5th) #2
light bulbs, porcelain light sockets, extension cords
two parts: approximately 113 in. in height, each
overall dimensions vary with installation
Executed in 1991. This work is edition 1AP.1 from an edition of twenty plus two artist's proofs, and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity signed by the artist.
Provenance
Gift of the artist to his sister, 1991
Anon. sale, Sotheby's, New York, 13 November 2013, lot 5
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner
Literature
N. Macel, 15 Artistas Cubanos, exh. cat., Mexico City, Ninart Centro de Cultura, 1991, pp. 11 and 36 (another example illustrated).
N. Spector, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Roni Horn, exh. cat., Munich, Sammlung Goetz, 1995, pp. 12 and 20.
C. Chapman, "Personal Effects: On Aspects of Work by Felix Gonzalez-Torres," BROADsheet, Spring 1996, pp. 16-17 (another example illustrated).
J.-M. Prévost, Propositions, exh. cat., Musée Departmental d’Art Contemporain de Rochechouart, 1996, pp. 10 and 84.
J.-F. Poirier, "Felix Gonzalez-Torres," Encyclopaedia Universalis, 1997, pp. 477-478.
D. Elger, ed., Felix Gonzalez-Torres: Catalogue Raisonné, Ost?ldern-Ruit, 1997, no. 118, pp. 69 and 163 (another example illustrated).
Felix Gonzalez-Torres, exh. cat., Montevideo, Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales, 2000, p. 10.
M. Barrero, Comer o no Comer, exh. cat., Centro de arte de Salamanca, 2002-2003, p. 47.
J. Ault, ed., Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Göttingen, 2006, no. 2, pp. 89, 260, 360 and 373 (another example illustrated).
F. Wagner, ed., Felix Gonzalez-Torres, exh. cat., Berlin, Hamburger Bahnhof, Museum für Gegenwart, 2006, pp. 32 and 50.
M. Escalante, Las Implicaciones de la Imagen, exh. cat., Mexico City, Museo Universitario de Ciencias y Arte, 2008, no. II. 25, p. 234 and 193 (another example illustrated, incorrectly titled Untitled No. 2).
N. Bray and C. Baldwin, Transformed, exh. cat., Virginia Beach, Contemporary Art Center of Virginia, 2008, pp. 9, 20 and 21 (another example illustrated).
M. Torp. Reality Check, exh. cat., Copenhagen, Statens Museum for Kunst, 2008, p. 90.
J. Rondeau and A. Rorimer, Contemporary Collecting: The Judith Neisser Collection: Minimal and Postminimal Innovation, exh. cat., Art Institute of Chicago, 2011, pp. 59 and 156 (another example illustrated).
D. Ades, Tate Latin American Acquisitions Committee: Celebrating 10 Years. New York, 2011, pp. 34-35 (another example illustrated).
A. Searle, "Felix Gonzalez-Torres: holding a mirror up to love and loss," The Guardian, 27 May 2016, n.p. (another example illustrated).
M. Mclean, "Felix Gonzalez-Torres," Frieze, no. 181, September 2016, pp. 168-169 (another example illustrated).
Exhibited
Brussels, Galerie Xavier Hufkens, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Michael Jenkins, March-April 1991 (another example exhibited).
Glens Falls, The Hyde Collection, Just what is it that makes today’s home so different, so appealing?, September-November 1991, p. 20 (another example exhibited and illustrated).
Tokyo, Wacoal Art Center, Three or More: A Multiple Exhibition, October 1992, p. 82 (another example exhibited and illustrated).
Glasgow, Tramway, Read My Lips: New York AIDS Polemics, October-December 1992 (another example exhibited).
Washington D.C., The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden at the Smithsonian Institution, Felix Gonzalez-Torres: Traveling, June-September 1994 (another example exhibited).
New York, Fischbach Gallery, Absence, Activism and the Body Politic, June 1994 (another example exhibited).
New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum; Santiago de Compostela, Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea and Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, March 1995-June 1996, pp. 182 and 221 (another example exhibited and illustrated).
New York, Greene Naftali Gallery, Broken Home, May-June 1997 (another example exhibited).
Hannover, Sprengel Museum; Kunstmuseum St. Gallen and Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, June 1997-November 1998, no. 118, p. 69 (another example exhibited and illustrated).
Barcelona, Fundació Joan Miró, Lux/Lumen, June-September 1997, pp. 34 and 59 (another example exhibited and illustrated).
Harrisburg, Susquehanna Art Museum, I’m Not Here: Constructing Identity at the Turn of the Century, December 1999-February 2000 (another example exhibited).
St. Gallen, Sammlung Hauser und Wirth, The Oldest Possible Memory, May-October 2000, p. 81 (another example exhibited and illustrated).
Albuquerque, National Hispanic Cultural Center of New Mexico, La Luz: Contemporary Latino Art in the United States, October-May 2001 (another example exhibited and illustrated on the cover).
Dallas Museum of Art, Gonzalez-Torres/Joseph Beuys, February-May 2001 (another example exhibited).
New York, Lehmann Maupin, L’Art Vivre, April-May 2005 (another example exhibited).
Waltham, The Rose Art Museum, Brandeis University, Broken Home, January-April 2008 (another example exhibited).
Clermont-Ferrand, L’Espace d’Art Contemporain La Tôlerie, La Foule (Zéro – Infini): Chapitre 1 (unite – dualité – la meute – la masse), May-July 2008.
Kansas City, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Sparks! The William T. Kemper Collecting Initiative, May-July 2008 (another example exhibited).
Clermont-Ferrand, L’Espace d’Art Contemporain La Tôlerie, La Foule (Zéro – Infini): Chapitre 2 (chaos – contrôle), October-November 2008, pp. 13-15 (another example exhibited and illustrated on the cover).
Paris, Passage du Retz and Petach Tikva Museum of Art, Insomniac Promenades: Dreaming/Sleeping in Contemporary Art, July 2008-July 2009 (another example exhibited).
Brussels, Wiels Contemporary Art Centre, Felix Gonzalez-Torres: Specific Objects without Specific Form, January-May 2010 (another example exhibited).
The Miami Art Museum, Between Here and There: Modern and Contemporary Art from the Permanent Collection, February 2010-April 2013 (another example exhibited).
Mexico City, Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo, Somewhere/Nowhere, February-May 2010, p. 64 (another example exhibited and illustrated).
Basel, Fondation Beyeler and Frankfurt am Main, Museum für Moderne Kunst, Felix Gonzalez-Torres: Specific Objects without Specific Form, May-April 2011 (another example exhibited).
New York, Pace Gallery, Burning, Bright: A Short History of the Lightbulb, October-November 2011 (another example exhibited).
Kunstmuseum Basel, Museum für Gegenwartskunst; Lisbon, Culturgest and New York, Artists Space, Tell It to My Heart: Collected by Julie Ault, February 2013-February 2014, p. 55 (another example exhibited and illustrated).
Paris, La Galerie des Galeries, In a Sentimental Mood, May-August 2013, pp. 8-9, 22 and 31 (another example exhibited and illustrated).
Cleveland, Museum of Contemporary Art, DIRGE: Reflections on [Life and] Death, March-June 2014, pp. 18-19 (another example exhibited and illustrated).
Centre Pompidou-Metz, 1984-1999 La Décennie, May 2014-March 2015 (another example exhibited).
Los Angeles, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Pacific Design Center, Tongues Untied, June-September 2015 (another example exhibited).
Dublin, Irish Museum of Modern Art, What We Call Love: From Surrealism to Now, September 2015-February 2016, pp. 60-61 (another example exhibited and illustrated).
Manifattura Tabacchi Modena, The Mannequin of History: Art after Fabrications of Critique and Culture, September 2015-January 2016 (another example exhibited).
Avignon, Collection Lambert, Patrice Chéreau, un musée imaginaire, July-October 2015, p. 164 (another example exhibited and illustrated).
Frankfurt am Main, Museum für Moderne Kunst, An Imagined Museum: Works from the Centre Pompidou, the Tate and the MMK, March-September 2016 (another example exhibited).
New York, Christie's, Structure + Space, February-March 2016.
London, Hauser & Wirth, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, May-July 2016 (another example exhibited).
Reading Prison, Inside: Contemporary Artists and Writers in Reading Prison, September-December 2016 (another example exhibited).

Brought to you by

Alex Berggruen
Alex Berggruen

Lot Essay

“Beauty is a power we should reinvest with our own purpose.” (F. Gonzalez-Torres, quoted in N. Spector, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Centro Galego de Arte Contemporanea, 1995-1996, p. 17)

Suspended from individual cords, the glow from the two unadorned light bulbs in Felix Gonzalez- Torres’ deeply impactful “Untitled” (March 5th) #2 is fused together to create a single iridescent mass. Executed in 1991, “Untitled” (March 5th) #2 is not only the artist’s first work to implement the use of lightbulbs, but it could be understood as one of his most personal. The work can be interpreted as a memorial to his late lover, Ross Laycock, who died from AIDS the year of the work’s creation. Ross’ presence is evoked in this work through the parenthetical portion of the title, March 5th, which was the date of his birth. Held in such prominent collections as Tate, London and the Art Institute of Chicago, the pair of lightbulbs speak not only of the powerful nature of human bonds and impermanence of life but also the chance for renewal. As the bulbs burn out, they are replaced allowing the work to continue to exist over time. The elegant ephemeral lyricism of Gonzalez-Torres’ reductive aesthetic combined with the expression of emotion produces a profoundly beautiful artwork which is not simply autobiographical but ultimately universal.
The art of Gonzalez-Torres contains many dualities. Muted yet immutable, heartening yet heartbreaking, political yet tender—his work is both beautiful and moving in its concomitant expression of permanence and change. The two solitary light bulbs in “Untitled” (March 5th) #2 together burn bright. Similarly, the duality that exists between the two light bulbs has a relationship to Gonzalez-Torres’ “Untitled” (Perfect Lovers) wherein two clocks, ticking in unison, hang side by side. Indeed, these works can be understood as symbols of his relationship with Ross as well as heady metaphors for the joy of love underscored with the fear of loss. In regard to “Untitled” (March 5th) #2, the artist has stated, ‘When I first made those two light bulbs, I was in a total state of fear about losing my dialogue with Ross, of being just one’ (F. Gonzalez-Torres, quoted in N. Spector, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, exh. cat., Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1995, p. 183). Invoking an incredible appreciation for life, “Untitled” (March 5th) #2 embraces its own dualities.
Transforming the everyday into profound meditations on love and loss and renewal, Gonzalez-Torres’ works—including his iconic light strings, candy spills and paper stacks—offer uncompromising beauty and simplicity. Whether executed as simple strings of lightbulbs or glimmering floor sculptures, his forms echo the practice of Minimalist sculpture imbued with an underlying current of poetic intimacy and political content. And yet, a quiet revolutionary, Gonzalez-Torres’ pieces remain open-ended, inviting viewers to participate in their realization. Whether by taking a sheet of paper, ingesting a piece of candy, or replacing a burnt out lightbulb, the artist stimulates the creativity of his audience. Establishing an interaction and interdependency between himself, the work and the viewer, the art of Gonzalez-Torres conveys intense poignancy through sheer simplicity—never forcing itself on the viewer, only inviting contemplation.

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