Untitled (Portrait of Ross in L.A.) - Felix Gonzalez-Torres, 1991
From the Art Institute of Chicago:
Felix Gonzalez-Torres produced work of uncompromising beauty and simplicity, transforming the everyday into profound meditations on love and loss. “Untitled” (Portrait of Ross in L.A.) is an allegorical representation of the artist’s partner, Ross Laycock, who died of an AIDS-related illness in 1991. The installation is comprised of 175 pounds of candy, corresponding to Ross’s ideal body weight. Viewers are encouraged to take a piece of candy, and the diminishing amount parallels Ross’s weight loss and suffering prior to his death. Gonzalez-Torres stipulated that the pile should be continuously replenished, thus metaphorically granting perpetual life.
this is in Chicago obviously, and really it’s just a pile of candy in the corner. I dunno I wish there was more explanation to it because really no one sees all this backstory all they see is FREE CANDY. i dunno
Everyone in my school talks about this when it comes up, and it’s agreed that there is a level of disturbance knowing that you’re taking a piece away and consuming it.
All you see is free candy, you take a few, and you move on. You take a piece away from Ross—it’s almost like you’re the disease, consuming him bit by bit and you’re either completely unaware or conscious of what you’re eating. Looking at it overall, it’s such an interesting piece because so many people are unaware of the backstory. And when you do learn, the candy becomes really scary.
I wish I knew where it was in the Art Museum D:< everyone has seen it but me because I’m a butt and don’t visit it as often as I should