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PRINT February 2010

THE USES OF DISORDER: THE ART OF FELIX GONZALEZ-TORRES

REMEMBER FELIX GONZALEZ-TORRES? The question isn’t meant to be facetious. Rather, it’s meant to point out how much the workings of politics and culture have changed since his first exhibitions in the late 1980s—and to start a debate on the role his work has played, if any, in our experience of those changes. I say start a debate because, to my mind, Gonzalez-Torres’s work has never really been challenged: It never had to convince skeptics over an extended period of time that it was worth looking at, thinking about, or participating in. In retrospect, it seems that his billboards, light strands, paper stacks, and candy spills were so ingenious and viscerally affective that they could only be embraced, almost immediately and without question, as a kind of egalitarian salvation. Most exemplary in this regard were the untitled paper and candy works, stacks and piles from which anyone could

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