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"Untitled" (Petit Palais)

Felix Gonzalez-Torres, American (born Cuba), 1957 - 1996

Made in North and Central America


Light bulbs, porcelain light sockets, and extension cord

Overall dimensions vary with installation

Curatorial Department:
Contemporary Art

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of the Peter Norton Family Foundation, 1992

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A simple string of light bulbs, Untitled (Petit Palais) rejects the monumental and heroic in favor of a quietly personal approach. The sculpture was inspired by lights Felix Gonzalez- Torres saw on Paris streets, and its title comes from the name of a Paris hotel. Made of everyday objects, it is designed to suggest a wide range of meanings, incorporating both the artist's and the viewer's responses and memories and reflecting upon the poignant tension between light's capacity for revelation and transcendence and its inevitable dimming over time. The modest and open-ended quality of the piece is reinforced by the fact that it has no fixed form of its own: the artist stipulated that whoever installed the work was to choose its configuration.