Felix Gonzalez-Torres to represent US at Venice 2007

The legacy of Felix Gonzalez-Torres to American contemporary art is undeniable. However, the announcement of the selection of his work to represent the US in the next edition of the Venice Biennale, being a deceased artist, has risen some controversy. The selection was made by the Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs after the recommendation of the Federal Advisory Committee on International Exhibitions. The exhibition will be organized by Nancy Spector, Curator of Contemporary Art and Director of Curatorial Affairs at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York. For the exhibition, Ms. Spector will include a new work, made from a drawing by Mr. Gonzalez-Torres but unrealized in his lifetime. What is really interesting is that the Federal Advisory Committee on International Exhibitions reviewed other proposals received from U.S. curators for official U.S. participation in major international exhibitions such as 2006 Dakar Biennale and the 2006 Sao Paulo Bienal. Amy Horschak of the Museum of Modern Art, New York has put together a show for the Dakar Biennale, while another group exhibition of American contemporary artists is to be presented at the 2006 São Paulo Bienal. The participation of American artists in prior editions of those events have been poor, thus, this decisions – according to their media note – are intended to ensure that the excellence, vitality, and diversity of the arts in the United States are effectively represented before international audiences. Go figure!

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