In celebration of its 15th anniversary, Artpace presented a year-long, statewide exhibition featuring the work of one of its most renowned alums, Félix González-Torres (International Artist-in-Residence Spring 1995).
Artpace sited billboards in Dallas, El Paso, Houston, and San Antonio for the first-ever comprehensive survey of González-Torres’s Billboards in the United States, organized by past Executive Director Matthew Drutt. Thirteen images created by González-Torres between 1989 and 1995 were drawn from poetic moments in the artist’s life, and rotated throughout the year on six billboards in each city.
Félix González-Torres was born in 1957 in Cuba, and grew up in Puerto Rico before moving to New York City. He died of AIDS in 1996, just one year after his residency at Artpace. His works complicate the questions of public and private space, authorship, originality, and the role of institutionalized meaning. He used everyday materials-electric light fixtures, paired wall clocks, and beaded curtains to express themes of love, mortality, loss, and absence. The transcendent quality of González-Torres’s Billboard works will be undeniably magnified by the Texas landscape. Moving beyond the walls of the institution with this publicly sited exhibition, Artpace aims to both capture the attention of cultural travelers and provide an enriching source of inspiration for the communities in which the works are installed.
The project was made possible with major funding provided by the Linda Pace Foundation, commemorating founder Linda Pace’s extraordinary gesture to encourage public access to contemporary art in Texas. Generous in-kind support is provided by Clear Channel Outdoor. The project was accompanied by a posthumously released book showing all of the locations and billboards throughout the year with a comprehensive essay by Matthew Drutt.