Sturtevant’s “Torres Untitleds”

I’ve been thinking about the works Sturtevant made of Felix Gonzalez-Torres’ works lately, and noticed this spread in the catalogue for her 2004 exhibition at the MMK Frankfurt. It’s called a catalogue raisonné, but maybe that was to subvert the idea of a catalogue raisonné. This notebook page feels a little more reliable, and yet.

It’s not clear when this was written, but the continuity of the pen makes me think it was after 1997, when her (Blood) bead curtain was shown at Ropac. Some of the artist’s notebook pages reproduced contain sketches, as if the work was not realized yet. This page, neatly laying out two works, feels like a transcription from other, less formalized sources. A lot of the objects’ details have been worked out, and this is how future exhibitions and sales will be recorded. A CR in progress.

A lot of details, but not all. It’s interesting to see what Sturtevant needs to repeat, and what she does not. Here, for example, she was still working through the titles. Here these works are called “Torres Untitled” (Something in parentheses, whether it’s Go-Go ^Dancing Platform or Blood). As it happens, I’d just been reading Tino Sehgal and Andrea Rosen’s conversation in the Specific Objects Without Specific Form exhibition catalogue, and Andrea spoke at length about the specificity of Felix’s “Untitled in Quote” (Something in parentheses) title format. Sturtevant seems to have considered it, maybe even used it for a while, before going with her own format: Gonzalez-Torres Untitled (Go-Go Dancing Platform).

And “1994-95.” [FWIW, this was published as 1995 in 2004.] I don’t know how it only just occurred to me that Sturtevant was making these works while they were being shown in Gonzalez-Torres’ retrospective at the Hirshhorn, MOCA, and Guggenheim.

[Morning after UPDATE: That e-flux link discusses how “Untitled” (Blood) was shown at the Hirshhorn in 1994, but I wonder if it’s more relevant that it was also shown in Paris, where Sturtevant lived, at the Musée d’Art Moderne, in 1995-96. The go-go dancing platform was most definitely not shown at the Hirshhorn, though it’d be wild to imagine Jesse Helms busting in on it seconds after the dancer left. Interestingly, artist Pierre Bal-Blanc, who made a #GRWM work about being a dancer on the platform in 1992, said in 2020 that he discussed it and performance with Sturtevant in 1992. Ofc, thanks to Bruce Hainley’s digging, it was long known by 2020 that Sturtevant did performance work in the 1960s, and specifically dance, so it’d be interesting to know more of what Sturtevant said about it in 1992.]