Friday, June 18, 2010

The Optimism in Felix Gonzalez-Torres' Fortune Cookies

Felix Gonzalez-Torres, "Untitled" (Fortune Cookie Corner), 1990. Fortune cookies, endless supply, overall dimensions vary with installation. Approximately 10,000 fortune cookies, approximately 36 x 100 x 60 in. Installed in "Felix Gonzalez-Torres: Specific Objects without Specific Forms" at Wiels, Brussels, Belgium, 2010. Photo by Sven Laurent, © Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation, courtesy Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York

For "Untitled" (Fortune Cookie Corner), 1990, his first "pour" piece, Felix Gonzalez-Torres carefully explained the parameters of the sculpture, stating that it requires "approximately 10,000 fortune cookies" (these become gross pretty quickly, Greg Allen has pointed out) that should be shaped into a pile measuring roughly "36 x 100 x 60 inches." He even notes the brand of fortune cookie that should be used, but he offers this generous, adorable addendum: "Fortune cookies of other producers may be used provided that the messages they contain are optimistic."

Source: David Deitcher, "Contradictions and Containment," in Felix Gonzalez-Torres, edited by Julie Ault, published by Steidl, 2006, p. 323