Using beads to create touchable, interactive art
Here are curators Alison Gass, Apsara DiQuinzio, and Janet Bishop in conversation. Take time to pass through the beads as you listen.
There’s always that moment of doubt when you approach it. Can I walk through this? Can I touch it? And that’s, I think, an integral part of the piece.
So much of Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s work really is about the body, but in a very unexpected way. This doesn’t look figurative, it doesn’t represent the body, but as you walk through it, it touches every part of your body. Usually we engage our eyes or maybe our ears in the museum, but here the work is really encompassing you and touching you in a totally different way, it’s really unexpected.
This gold beaded curtain by Cuban artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres was conceived of before his death in 1996, and realized afterwards. Gonzalez-Torres was known for his deceptively simple works involving paper, hard candies, and other common materials that the visitor could touch, take, or even eat.
It’s meant to be installed either going all the way across a gallery or all the way across a doorway, so that the viewers go right through the beads, setting this tremendous sort of ripple into motion. And it’s extraordinarily fluid, and almost liquid, in a sense, where you walk through it and then the—the beads sort of settle back into place over time. You know, almost like throwing a stone into a lake, creating a ripple effect and then having it settle again.
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