This work will be on exhibit at the Rahr-West Art Museum from June 2 through September 13, 2020 thanks to the support of ArtBridges, an organization dedicated to expanding access to American Art.
As one of Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s powerful candy-spill works, "Untitled" (L.A.) finds beauty in the everyday by transforming a bounty of green, cellophane-wrapped candies into a dazzling arrangement of color, form, and texture. Viewers are encouraged to take and taste the candy, activating the work in a way that suggests a wide range of profound meanings. The participation of each viewer creates a moment of engagement that is sensory and personal. The intimate nature and fluctuating structure of Gonzalez-Torres’s candy works are often interpreted as being related to tragedy in the artist’s private life.
"Untitled" (L.A.) was created in 1991, the same year that Gonzalez-Torres’s beloved partner Ross Laycock lost his life due to an AIDS-related illness. The gradual depletion and replenishment of Gonzales-Torres’s candy-spills has been seen as metaphorical, seeming to represent the deterioration of a human body ravaged by illness. At the same time, it can also be seen as a type of immortality generated through ritual remembrance and continual recreation. However, Gonzalez-Torres avoided assigning explicit interpretations to his candy works, preferring them to remain available for all to experience in a personal way.
In His Own Words
I don’t want to make art just for the people who can read Fredric Jameson sitting upright on a Mackintosh chair. I want to make art for people who watch The Golden Girls and sit in a big, brown, La-Z-Boy Chair. They’re part of my public too, I hope.
~Felix Gonzalez-Torres on who he makes art for
I see the practice of teaching as an integral part of my work. Teaching for me is a form of cultural activism, a form of creative change at a very basic level, and it is a way of redeeming the profession of art teaching. As a student you always got these teachers telling you what is right and what is wrong without any doubt or questioning. I want my students to learn the tools of critical thought and to always doubt, to learn how to doubt themselves and to be self-critical. Only through acts of self-criticism are we able to discern which work is better or worse, hopefully.
~Felix Gonzalez-Torres on teaching