In his lifetime, Felix Gonzalez-Torres conceived of seventeen billboard works. “Untitled” (Strange Bird), 1993, consists of a black-and-white image installed in multiple public spaces: for this manifestation, one billboard is presented on the 4th floor of the Art Gallery of Ontario, and six are mounted outdoors throughout the city.
In this quiet image, a winged form is silhouetted against a moody sky. Gonzalez-Torres’s work was informed, in part, by his experiences as an openly gay man living and working in the 1980s and ‘90s, within the geopolitical context of that era and against the backdrop of the HIV/AIDS health crisis. In his practice, the artist questioned the lines between personal and political, between private and public.
These billboard works disrupt the urban landscape, inserting art into the public realm and prompting viewers to consider an unknowable number of associations evoked by the imagery: human connection and sexuality; migration and belonging; love, loss, and redemption.
“Untitled” (Strange Bird) is presented in partnership with the AGO until May 30, 2022. These manifestations coincide with Felix Gonzalez-Torres: Summer, the first solo exhibition of the artist’s work in Canada, on view at MOCA until July 31, 2022.
- 2659 Eglinton Ave. E. (at Danforth Ave.)
- 1668 Dupont St. (at Dundas St.)
- 1501 Queen St. W. (at Beaty Ave.)
- 282 Richmond St. E. (at Sherbourne Ave.)
- 443 Spadina Ave. (at College St.)
- 713 Weston Rd. (at Rogers Rd.)
Share your images of this work on social media with the hashtag #FGTStrangebird