The Candy Man

Félix González-Torres at The Carpenter Center, Modern and Contemporary Chinese Ink Painting at the Sackler, and Chuck Close and Robert Storr at BU
By RANDI HOPKINS  |  October 23, 2007
Chen Qikuan, Monkeys

“Félix González-Torres” at Carpenter Center, 24 Quincy St, Cambridge | November 8–January 4 | 617.495.3251 | “A Tradition Redefined: Modern and Contemporary Chinese Ink Paintings from the Chu-Tsing Li Collection, 1950-2000” at Arthur M. Sackler Museum, 32 Quincy St, Cambridge | November 3–January 27 | 617.495.9400 | Chuck Close and Robert Storr Lecture at BU School of Management Auditorium, 595 Comm Ave, Boston | November 1 at 6 pm | 617.353.3371
Glittering piles of cheap candies — wrapped in shiny gold or brightly colored metallic papers, overflowing from the corner of gallery or museum spaces — are probably Cuban-born artist Félix González-Torres’s most iconic works. Minimal yet gaudy, formal yet messy, abundant yet diminishing (visitors were invited to take the candy), these works from the early 1990s married conceptual rigor, deep personal sentiment, and political activism, often taking the elegiac form of homage to mortality in the face of AIDS — a backdrop to González-Torres’s art activity during the late 1980s and early 1990s. González-Torres, who himself died from complications of AIDS in 1996, was chosen as the US representative to the Venice Biennale this past summer. His influential work is the subject of “FÉLIX GONZÁLEZ-TORRES” (opening at Harvard’s Carpenter Center on November 8), wherein he evokes complex responses via infinitely replaceable everyday materials. (In addition to candy, he used light bulbs, beads, and sheets of newsprint.) Art historian Miwon Kwon gives the lecture “Manifestations: Some Thoughts on the Work of Félix González-Torres” at the Carpenter Center on November 8 at 6 pm; that’s followed by an opening reception.

Chinese ink painting underwent a dramatic evolution in the second half of the 20th century, reflecting China’s interest in Western modernism and its relationship to the values of traditional painting and also to those of the Communist regime following the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949. “A TRADITION REDEFINED: MODERN AND CONTEMPORARY CHINESE INK PAINTINGS FROM THE CHU-TSING LI COLLECTION, 1950–2000” (opening at Harvard’s Sackler Museum on November 3) explores parallel lines of development in different geographical areas in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and abroad over this 50-year period, with work drawn from the collection of art historian Chu-tsing Li. In connection with this exhibition, the Sackler will host the M. Victor Leventritt Symposium on “Chinese Painting: The Twentieth Century and Beyond,” with lectures on November 2 and 3. The event is free; visit for details.

And on November 1 at 6 pm, BU’s School of Management Auditorium is the site of a talk by the dynamic duo of CHUCK CLOSE, who’s famous for his VERY BIG, highly pixilated paintings of faces, and ROBERT STORR, who curated the 2007 Venice Biennale and organized many big MoMA shows while he was Curator of Painting and Sculpture there between 1990 and 2002, including the retrospective “Chuck Close” in 1998.

On the Web
“Félix González-Torres” at Carpenter Center:
Arthur M. Sackler Museum:
BU School of Management Auditorium:

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