"For the entire month of June, the Public Art Fund will present Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s first billboard, which was unveiled in 1989 in the West Village in New York. The work will be situated in its original location, on the corner of Seventh Avenue and Christopher Street, above Village Cigars and steps away from the Stonewall Inn.
The organization worked with Gonzalez-Torres to create the work to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Stonewall Rebellion, which is often cited as a catalyst of the Gay Liberation movement. Now, 30 years later, on the eve of the event’s 50th anniversary at the end of June, the Public Art Fund has collaborated with the Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation, the artist died of AIDS-related causes in 1996 at 38, and Google, which usually advertises in the billboard space.
The billboard is mostly black, save for two lines of white text, and relies on the artist’s the artist’s specific strategy of presenting nonlinear dates and events as a means to collapse the notion of history as something chronological. The text for the billboard reads: ‘People With AIDS Coalition 1985 Police Harassment 1969 Oscar Wilde 1895 Supreme Court 1986 Harvey Milk 1977 March on Washington 1987 Stonewall Rebellion 1969.’"
Read the full article in ARTnews
On the occasion of this project, Public Art Fund is holding a panel discussion on public art and activism on Monday, June 2, 2019. The panel will include Joy Episalla, artist and founding member of the queer women artists’ collective fierce pussy, Avram Finkelstein, co-founder of the collective Silence=Death Project, which created the "Silence=Death" AIDS awareness campaign to combat institutional silence surrounding homophobia and HIV/AIDS, and film director, activist, and author Paola Mendoza, co-founder and artistic director of the first Women's March on Washington.
Image: Installation view, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, "Untitled", 1989, Sheridan Square, New York, 2019