Monday, November 22, 2010

Walk the art in Felix Gonzalez-Torres's shoes

"Untitled" (Last Light) 1993
Felix Gonzalez-Torres
10 watt light bulbs, extension cord, plastic light sockets, dimmer switch
Walker Art Center

PART I : Initial reaction

What I see in the piece by Felix Gonzalez-Torres is light bulbs on a cord installation. Put against a wall, but when I was at the walker it was placed in a corner. It also contains 24 light bulbs on a single cord and is long. The piece reminds me of the Christmas lights that hangs on the tree, and just light bulbs that you see every day when you flick it. Also it reminds me of lighthouses. The feelings that I get from the piece is a not so happy one, it makes me feel sad, loneness, and a bit of joy but sour after words. (Like a bad after taste of something looking juicy good) What I synthesis about the piece is that it is probably made to tell a sign that it could be positive and yet it could just simply mean that electricity (the main subject) is just as important and sad or alone and forgotten as some emotions.

PART II : Why is it art?

The medium is from things that we see and use. The work is personally about the artist. The meaning behind the piece is personal yet the artist wants to express how he felt. The roles he had played and what event he took onto. This piece adds importance to society and culture because his background was somewhat important to him and he explores that through this piece. Why is it art? In conclusion to what I learn about the piece, I still question myself why this is art. It’s probably art because it has meaning and some art don’t need meaning, but this one, without it, I think it will not be art at all. Yet the installation makes it look like a decorative piece but it’s not because it looks too simple and easily to recapture almost.

The message of this piece is personal but it becomes a piece of art because it not only makes it personal but it communicates to viewers, the impression it will make and be questioned about. The 24 light bulbs represent the events in his life and research show that he likes to include history behind his work. When searching for his meaning of the 1 light bulb that is not lighted, it wasn’t really considered but assuming to conclude an end almost like it symbolizes death and lost. The piece was made during the time of the event of AIDS and this piece express socially about that since it represents his lover who died from it.


  1. See, we picked the same piece! It's interesting to read what this piece reminds you of and how it differs from what it reminds me of.

  2. Group reactions:
    - so messy
    - confusing - just lightbulbs, i didn't understand what the art was about, why the wall,? why the stright line
    - like unfinished cruistmas lights
    - Lonely
    - stick on fine
    - a lightbulb that was burned out - I was curious - was that a specifc one - how many --> 16th one is burnt out out of 24.
    - is it a memorial thing?
    - Representational of something, bt almost too vauge... I can never really settle on something.... I can't
    - history on the plack:

    - lots of symbolisum
    - you can see......what his point is - what he wants you to feel? His history is a great insight to his work.

    What do we know about this work???
    - his lover who had aids
    - it was a memorial to him
    - everyday materials
    - the 16th is burnt out

    What don't we know?
    - Does the 1 light bulb that is out - does it matter? does that mean something?

    - whn did he dies?
    - what's signifigant about 16, and 24
    - why light bulbs
    - why are they just white lightbulbs - connection to his candy work, why not coolor?
    - was his partner so in love with life (connected to the candy) - ubt the lights - kinda blah
    - Does it have to do wth his lover's personality?
    - What about the placement on the wall - some lights are one the ground?
    - what about the placements of the light?
    - How should it be viewed? why the corner
    - how tall is it???
    - how quickly was this work accepted? did it get him money
    - is it finished???