This is, “Untitled (Last Light), 1993” by Felix Gonzalez-Torres.
From the plaque:
Throughout his career, Felix Gonzalez-Torres made more than 20 light string works. Apart from the number of bulbs in each piece, and their vaguely referential, parenthetical titles, the only variations from work to work result from installation, the specifics of which the artist insisted on leaving to the discretion of the respective owners. Over the course of any given installation, some of the bulbs burn out; thus the ephemeral nature of the materials imbues the work with a certain sense of melancholy.
This is why I don’t like much “modern ‘art'”. It is entirely in the mind of the viewer, and requires zero skill (or, in some cases, a serious – sometimes intentional – lack of skill) on the part of the “artist.” There is far more art in the plaque describing this piece than there is in the piece itself.
I met too many of this kind of “artist” in college to take any of them seriously. (I realize I’m closing myself off to some potentially worthwhile work this way, but when the alternative is to play the fool, attempting to sense the meaning in a strand of lights lying where they fell, I’m OK with the choice.) What separates this particular piece of “art” from the Christmas lights in your basement? (Yeah, yeah, I know … “you didn’t see fit to mention the lights in your basement, but this work is provoking existential thoughts on the nature of art and artistry itself. It’s forcing you to question your pre-conceived notions of what ‘art’ really is, and expanding your horizons.” Of course.)
It turns out that Mr. Gonzalez-Torres is also behind the pile of candy in the corner that I mentioned on the previous post. The candy pile is on the other side of the wall from these lights. Scroll to the right here for a photo of that.
(Did my use of the phrase behind the pile of candy in the corner make you think – just for a moment – that the artist himself was hiding in the pile? He isn’t. It’s just candy. Are you re-evaluating your prejudiced and jaded notions of the written word? …of the very act of communication?)