Sunday, January 9, 2011

"More darkly, the steadily-diminishing pile of cheerfully-wrapped candies..."

"Even as a minimalist, Felix Gonzalez-Torres also had a whimsical, humanistic side that showed the influences of pop art on his installations. In this "portrait" of his deceased partner, Ross Laycock, Gonzalez-Torres created a spill of candies that approximated Ross's weight (175 lbs.) when he was healthy. Viewers are invited to take away a candy until the mound gradually disappears; it is then replenished, and the cycle of life and death continues. While Gonzalez-Torres wanted the viewer/participant to partake of the sweetness of his own relationship with Ross, the candy spill also works as an act of communion. More darkly, the steadily-diminishing pile of cheerfully-wrapped candies shows the dissolution of the gay community as society ignored the AIDS epidemic. In the moment that the candy dissolves in the viewer's mouth, the participant also receives a shock of recognition at his or her complicity in Ross's demise."

From the National Portrait Gallery's exhibit "Hide and Seek: Differences and Desire in American Portraiture" (the AIDS theme). Hours 11:30-7pm, Free, this particular exhibit closes Feb. 13th.

Accessible via Green Line off the Gallery Place metro stop, Washington DC (follow the "exit to Galleries"sign when leaving metro station).

1 comment:

Kelly O said...

Felix Gonzalez-Torres is one of my all-time favorite artists. I love that piece. Thanks for letting us know it's part of that exhibit!