"Untitled" (Revenge), 1991
Light-blue candies, individually wrapped in cellophane, endless supply.
Dimensions vary with installation.
Ideal weight: 325 lbs.
The Collection of Barbara and Howard Morse
|Gonzalez-Torres's work subtly combines personal experiences and ideas from art theory with political points of view. His installations of piles of paper and sweets indicate a direct connection with the Conceptual and Minimal Art of the 1960s. But by inviting museum visitors to help themselves to a sheet of paper or piece of candy, these works negate the claim to artistic autonomy that is characteristic of Minimal art by questioning the uniqueness of the artwork. Simply through their selection and arrangement, everyday items such as store-bought candies become infused with a poetic aura. His work transfers the private emotion into the public arena, making us aware of the general relevance of such themes as illness, death, love, and loss.
Untitled (Public Opinion), a 700-pound spill of black-rod licorice pieces, was made as a protest against the heightened nationalism he witnessed during the first Gulf War. For Gonzalez-Torres, the rods of licorice resembled missiles. Free for the taking and replaceable, Gonzalez-Torres's perpetually shrinking and swelling sculptures defy the macho solidity of Minimalist form, while playfully expanding upon its ideas and materials.
--- text from Singular Forms (Sometimes Repeated): Art from 1951 to the Present; Felix Gonzalez-Torres (1957-1996). In 1995 the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum organized a retrospective of his work. Gonzalez-Torres died in 1996 at the age of 38.