Lost In Translation: Christopher Wool Stack

Lot 617: Christopher Wool, Untitled (The show is over), 1993 [sic sic sic], via jvv-berlin.de

While we were all focused on the Ellsworth Kelly centenary, we missed the five-year anniversary of the question, “Why are people buying free Félix Gonzálex-Torres posters?”

Which an auction house in Berlin just celebrated by asking, “Félix who?”

A poster from “Untitled,” 1993, the endless stack of free posters Felix Gonzalez-Torres and Christopher Wool first made for Printed Matter as a fundraising edition [!] is being sold a “Poster for an exhibition” and an “offset print” from “a so-called ‘Stack’-work” by Christopher Wool. It would be, I believe, Wool’s first and only Stack-work.

Das Poster für die Ausstellung "Printed Matter" in New York als sogenannte "Stack"-Arbeit geschaffen. Hierfür wurde der Druck in einer unbekannten Auflagenhöhe erstellt und lag auf einem Stapel in den Ausstellungsräumen aus. Wool versucht durch den Text eine Kommunikation mit dem Betrachter aufzubauen, Wortbilder zu erschaffen. Er stellt die Fragen aber nicht nur dem Betrachter, sondern auch sich selbst und lässt damit die Außenwelt an seinen Gedanken teilhaben.
sogenannte “Stack”-Arbeit, hmm?

Gonzalez-Torres’ stack piece made with an image of Wool’s painting is, of course, in the Sammlung Hoffmann in Mitte. So if you lose the auction, maybe just head into town one weekend and pick up an uncreased copy.

[Lol also: Not Gagosian Shop selling this poster for $1500. Also Joshua Smith reminding us all that Larry got his start selling posters on the street, so shout out to the OG, I guess.]

Which, now I have my next project:

23 Jun 2023, Lot 617 Christopher Wool. Untitled (The show is over). … [jvv-berlin.de]

No Title, Felix Gonzalez-Torres

Felix Gonzalez-Torres, No Title, 1989, offset print on pale blue? paper, framed, image via Doyle

Red Canoe 1987 Paris 1985 Harry the Dog 1983 Blue Lake 1987 Interferon 1989 Ross 1984

We’ve been here before. As a diptych stack by the artist once endlessly put it, “Somewhere better than this place/ Nowhere better than this place”.

Doyle is offering a work by Felix Gonzalez-Torres that threads every conceptual needle. It is an edition. From an endlessly replenished stack. It’s in the catalogue raisonée, but not as a work.

Continue reading “No Title, Felix Gonzalez-Torres”

Untitled (Additional Material), 2021

a rendering of Untitled (Additional Material) based on a photo by Peter Muscato of Felix Gonzalez-Torres' Untitled (Veterans Day Sale), 1989
Untitled (Additional Material), 2021, study, 0ffset print on paper (endless copies)
20″ (ideal height) x 23″ x 29″, base image: FG-T Fndn

I’m as surprised as anyone that it was only when I finished posting about the orphaned appendices in the Felix Gonzalez-Torres catalogue raisonée that I figured out what to do with them.

I do still think that the Foundation should republish the information about the dozens of works Gonzalez-Torres made, and showed, and sent out into the world, which were later declared to be non-works.

Untitled (Additional Material), 2021, (detail) 0ffset print on paper (endless copies)
20″ (ideal height) x 23″ x 29″

By laying out the eight pages of the CR’s two appendices, Untitled (Additional Material) appropriates the strategy of the iconic stack, “Untitled” (Death by Gun), which reproduces entire pages from a special issue of Time magazine showing the people killed in the US by guns during one week.

The dimensions, meanwhile are a nod to one of two pieces that ended up classified as Non-Works: a 1990 collaboration with Donald Moffett called, “Untitled” (I Spoke With Your God). The stack of printed text by Moffett on red paper (“I SPOKE WITH YOUR GOD/ HE COMMANDED ME TO CUT OUT YOUR MOUTH”) appeared just once, in a two-person show at the University of British Columbia Arts Center in Vancouver. [The print size, 29×23 inches, is one Gonzalez-Torres used in other stacks, too, including “Untitled” (Veterans Day Sale), 1989, the image of which was used above for a rendering of the piece. I did not print 20 inches worth of giant bootleg posters today.]

The stack by Felix Gonzalez-Torres and Donald Moffett formerly known as “Untitled” (I Spoke To Your God), 1990, image: Scott Watson via Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation

As it turns out, this Non-Work does have a Foundation webpage, complete with installation shots. It does not appear to be linked from anywhere, and the URL now ends in “-hidden.” I am in awe all over again.

Previously, related: finally, the stack as medium

Soft-Core: On Additional Material and Non-Work

Untitled photo by Felix Gonzalez-Torres in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, listed as not art in the catalogue raisonée.


The earliest work by Felix Gonzalez-Torres in the Metropolitan Museum’s collection is also the smallest. It is untitled, an instant black & white photo of the sea through a Cuban fence. It’s about 2.75 inches square. It is signed and dated 1985, and has a fragment of a magazine collaged on the back that reads, “THE BO–/ ANYMORE.” By the time it was acquired at the end of 1996, the year of the artist’s death, the Met had already acquired two similar sets of photos by Gonzalez-Torres: photogravures of sand, and cloudscapes. Similar, but different: this one is not an artwork. “Although made, signed, and dated by the photographer,” the catalogue entry reads, “Gonzalez-Torres thought of works such as this [photo] as lying outside his core oeuvre.”

Published in 1997, just in time to record the Met’s acquisition, the Felix Gonzalez-Torres Catalogue Raisonée has three categories: Works, Additional Material, and Registered Non-Works. The photo above is in the second category. When the CR was released, Gonzalez-Torres was the most important artist in the world to me, and I wanted more of his works, not fewer. I was upset for these somehow downgraded works, and for the sleights they faced in the discourse, the gallery, the market. I couldn’t accept that the same artist who’d shown me that the most remarkable things could be art–a pile of candy, a stack of paper, a jigsaw puzzle, a pair of clocks–also said they couldn’t be.

My incredulity over Felix’s work fueled a years-long contest with the declarative process, what artists called objects, what they kept, what they destroyed. It helped me keep an eye out for these marginalized–and invisible, since there weren’t even any pictures–works. But even as I developed more nuanced appreciations of [other] artists’ agency, these non-art designations still gnawed at me. Until the other night, when I started writing this. It’s been almost 25 years: what’s going on?

Continue reading “Soft-Core: On Additional Material and Non-Work”