The FLAG Art Foundation is honored to announce Floating a Boulder: Works by Felix Gonzalez-Torres and Jim Hodges, on view October 1, 2009-January 31, 2010, on its 9th and 10th floors. The exhibition features works by Felix Gonzalez-Torres and Jim Hodges, two prominent artists that developed a unique vocabulary of meaning through a myriad of subtleties.
Rooted in conceptual and minimal framework, Gonzalez-Torres’s work transformed ordinary objects into emotive relics with references to politics, death, and love. Through materials such as bead curtains, strands of lightbulbs, takeaway piles of candy, stacks of paper, mirrors, wall clocks, and jigsaw puzzles, the works combine their aesthetic allure and ephemeral nature with the gravitas of the subject matter itself. Hodges’s oeuvre emanates from a similar practice; his photographs, lightbulb sculptures, mirrors, chain spider webs, scarves, and their rich imageries, craftsmanship, and implementations of color and light conjure notions of the passages of time, love, loss, and life.
Both Gonzalez-Torres and Hodges distill personal experiences and emotions into their objects with a universal resonance. Furthermore, a vital component to both artists’ work is the role of the viewer, invariably contributing to the timeless relevance of the work. In 1993, Gonzalez-Torres reflected, “I need public interaction. Without the public these works are nothing. I need the public to complete the work. I ask the public to help me out, to take responsibility, to become part of my work, to join in.” Almost ten years later, Hodges echoed: “I don’t think that I am ever not engaged with that consideration. This dialogue or this interaction with a viewer, what’s perceived, what’s being experience, what’s being responded too…actually, the viewer completes the work.”
Felix Gonzalez-Torres (1957-1996) Born in Güaimaro, Cuba in 1957, Gonzalez-Torres and his sister were sent to Madrid in 1970, where they stayed in an orphanage until settling in Puerto Rico with an aunt and uncle in 1971. Torres graduated from the Colegio San Jorge in 1976 and began his art studies at the Universidad de Puerto Rico, while actively participating in the local art scene. In 1979 he moved to New York with a fellowship to study at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. The following year he participated in the Whitney Independent Study Program, where his development as an artist was profoundly influence by his introduction to postmodern theory. He attended the program a second time in 1983, the year he received his BFA from Pratt. Gonzalez-Torres joined the artists’ collective Group Material (along with Doug Ashford, Julie Ault, and Tim Rollins) in 1987, the year he received his MFA from the International Center of Photography/New York University. Subsequently he taught at New York University and briefly at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia.
Gonzalez-Torres’s first solo exhibitions in New York were held at the Intar Latin American Gallery and the Rastovski Gallery in 1988. In 1989, he exhibited a billboard in Sheridan Square, New York City, on the occasion of the twentieth anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion. In 1990 he began exhibiting with the Andrea Rosen Gallery, which continues to represent his work today. The Museum of Modern Art, New York, invited Gonzalez-Torres to participate in its Projects series in 1992, for which he created a photographic billboard of an empty, but previously occupied, double bed that was shown in locations throughout the city. During his lifetime, Gonzalez-Torres was the subject of several important museum exhibitions, including Felix Gonzalez-Torres: Traveling in 1994 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., and the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, and a retrospective organized by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, in 1995, which traveled to the Centro Galego de Arte Contemporánea, Santiago de Compostela, and ARC-Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.
Gonzales-Torres participated in hundreds of group shows during his lifetime, including early presentations at Artist’s Space and White Columns in New York (1987 and 1988, respectively); the Whitney Biennial (1991); the Venice Biennale (1993); SITE/Santa Fe (1995); and the Sydney Biennale (1996). Since his death, there have been numerous exhibitions devoted to his work, including ones organized by the Sprengel Museum Hannover (1997-98); the Serpentine Gallery, London (2000); and the Biblioteca Luίs Angél Arango, Banco de la República, Bogotá, Colombia (1999-2000). Recent exhibitions include a retrospective at the Hamburger Bahnhof—Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin (2006), and an exhibition of formative work executed in Puerto Rico at El Museo del Barrio, New York (2006). Gonzalez-Torres died from complications due to AIDS on January 9, 1996.
Jim Hodges (b. 1957, Spokane, WA) is an artist living and working in New York, NY. In 1980, Hodges received a BFA from Fort Wright College, Spokane, WA. In 1983, Hodges moved to Brooklyn, NY, to study painting at Pratt Institute; he received an MFA in 1986.
 Hoban, Stephen, ed. Felix Gonzalez-Torres: America, p. 35. New York: Guggenheim Foundation, 2007.
 Berry, Ian. “You Ornament the Earth: A Dialogue with Jim Hodges by Ian Berry.” Jim Hodges, p. 6. Saratoga Springs: Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, 2003.
 Originally published in Felix Gonzalez-Torres: America © 2007 The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Used by permission.