5. Felix Gonzalez-Torres Billboard Work to Honor 50th Anniversary of Stonewall Uprising

Felix Gonzalez-Torres, “Untitled”, 1989, Installation view of “Untitled” (Billboard). Sheridan Square, New York, NY. Mar – Sep. 1989. Organized by Public Art Fund. Photo courtesy of Public Art Fund, NY © Felix Gonzalez-Torres. 

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising and WorldPride, the Public Art Fund will display, once again, a piece it put up for the 20th anniversary of the uprising. Untitled, a black and white billboard created by Cuban-born artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres will return to its original spot in Sheridan Square in Greenwich Village, above Village Cigars and across from the historic Stonewall Inn bar, where it first appeared in 1989. The billboard contains two lines of white text that run across the bottom of a black background which read:

People With AIDS Coalition 1985 Police Harassment 1969 Oscar Wilde 1895 Supreme
Court 1986 Harvey Milk 1977 March on Washington 1987 Stonewall Rebellion 1969

Gonzalez-Torres’ work through the mid-1980s included many date pieces with a similar black and white aesthetic, but this was his first billboard. The intention of these dated works is to “disrupt the hierarchy of chronology as well as the perceived distinctions between public and private histories.” Describing the piece in 1989, Gonzalez-Torres wrote, “The letters running across the lower part of the billboard suggest a long caption, capable of sustaining the projection of many images. The size of the letters is rather small for such a large space. This is not an ad; I don’t expect it to be readable while speeding down Seventh Avenue to the Holland Tunnel. I hope the public will stop for an instant to reflect on the real and abstract relationships of the different dates.” Presented in collaboration with The Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation with lead support by Google, the billboard will be on view throughout the entire month of June.