The Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation Courtesy of Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York
Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art announced Monday the acquisition of Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s 1991 installation “Untitled” (L.A.).
The announcement came just a week after reports that the work had sold for a record-setting $7.67 million at Christie’s “Postwar and Contemporary Evening Sale.”
The work is comprised of small, green candies wrapped in cellophane that are spread across the gallery floor. It’s one of nearly 20 pieces Gonzales-Torres made using packaged hard candies before his death in 1996. The installations were sometimes considered a reflection of the body, particularly the artist’s experience with AIDS. In another piece called “Untitled” (Portrait of Ross in L.A.), Gonzales-Torres used the work to represent the body of his partner, Ross Laycock, who died of an AIDS-related illness in 1991. It includes 175 pounds of candy, which corresponds to Laycock’s ideal body weight. According to a description by the Art Institute of Chicago, viewers are encouraged to take a piece of candy, the diminishing amount of which parallels Laycock’s weight loss and suffering prior to his death. Gonzalez-Torres stipulated that the candy should be continuously replenished, “thus metaphorically granting perpetual life.”
Much like Portrait, the installation acquired by Crystal Bridges will also invite viewers to touch, take, and consume the work, which will be endlessly replenished.
From the museum’s announcement:
“In its use of everyday materials and simplified form, “Untitled” (L.A.) appropriates the minimalist approach developed by artists already included in the Crystal Bridges collection like Donald Judd and Dan Flavin,” said Crystal Bridges Curator Chad Alligood. “Gonzalez-Torres expanded on this vocabulary to address critical issues in the United States during the 1980s and ‘90s, such as the AIDS crisis, individual social responsibility, and the divide between the public and private spheres. The artist asked the public to take responsibility, to become a part of the work: this is art you can touch, take, and taste. Like many of Gonzalez-Torres’s works, its open-endedness incorporates the viewer’s interaction, both physical and conceptual, to make meaning. In its spirit of generosity, this acquisition particularly dovetails with Crystal Bridges’ mission to welcome all to celebrate the American spirit. And, because “Untitled” (L.A.) is a major work by one of the most important and influential Latino artists of the 20th century, it helps us tell an expanded story of American art.”
No date has been set for the unveiling of the work, but gallery officials said the installation will be available for viewing in the coming months.