Archive: 1991
Free candy in a museum – Félix González-Torres

Free candy in a museum – Félix González-Torres

Felix Gonzalez-Torres - "Untitled" (Portrait of Ross in L.A.), 1991, The Art Institute of Chicago
Felix Gonzalez-TorresUntitled (Portrait of Ross in L.A.), 1991, Candies individually wrapped in multicolor cellophane, endless supply. Dimensions vary with installation; ideal weight 175 lbs. At The Art Institute of Chicago
(Photo mark6mauno Flickr)

Why did Félix González-Torres install candy in museum?

Felix Gonzalez-Torres’ piece “Untitled” (Portrait of Ross in L.A.) is one of his nineteen candy pieces and featured in many museums around the world. The work targets the topic of a serious nature, one that is still unfortunately often taboo in mainstream society. It takes the topic from the shadows, where individuals still cringe and avert their eyes, and lays it on the table for discussion and contemplation.

The approximate 175 pounds of candy that make up the work resembles the 175-pound body of Ross Laycock, the artists’ boyfriend who died of AIDS in 1991. As each person takes a piece of candy, they in turn act as the AIDS virus depleting Ross’ body, piece by piece taking it away until there is nothing left. Felix Gonzalez-Torres, who dedicated his artwork to the one he love and lost, died in 1996 of AIDS.

The meaning of the artwork

His work doesn’t only represent the disease and its depletion on the body, but it represents the love between the person who is suffering from the disease and the person who is there to support them and suffer with them. The sweet candy, in and of itself, is a representation of love. If you think about giving candy to a loved one on valentine’s day, sweets in a box with flowers on mother’s day, candy has long been tied to affection and love. While the candy is eaten, while the body begins to disappear, the love remains.

While there has been much development and change since the 80’s and 90’s, there has been no cure and there has remained a stigma attached to the disease. Treatment allows individuals with HIV to live long and fairly normal lives, however, there is still much more work needed in the area, and there is a need for unstigmatized conversation.

This work of art says so much and is absolutely just as important today as it was in the 90’s. If you ever have the chance, this is a piece you must see.

Photos

Felix Gonzalez-Torres - "Untitled" (Portrait of Ross in L.A.), 1991, The Art Institute of Chicago
Felix Gonzalez-TorresUntitled (Portrait of Ross in L.A.), 1991, Candies individually wrapped in multicolor cellophane, endless supply. Dimensions vary with installation; ideal weight 175 lbs. At The Art Institute of Chicago

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Out of this world: Volcanic ash pyramids fill up museums

Out of this world: Volcanic ash pyramids fill up museums

Magdalena Jetelová - Domestication of Pyramids - Museum of Applied Arts Vienna
Magdalena JetelováDomestication of Pyramids, Museum of Applied Arts Vienna, Austria

Introduction

Domestication of Pyramids by Magdalena Jetelová are pyramid-sculptures, covered by volcanic ashes, and have been shown at the Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna, Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berlin, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Warsaw, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Forum Kunst Rottweil and other art spaces.

Pyramids at the Viennese Museum of Applied Arts

The Viennese Museum of Applied Arts is a typical example of Ringstrasse architecture: an elegant, richly ornamented Neo-Renaissance building with an inner peristyle hall and galleries. Upon entering the building, the visitor finds himself/herself, surprisingly, in a darkened, curved space: soon he/she discovers that he/she is standing under large, slanted scaffolding. He/she instinctively walks to the right, where there is a way out. When he/she returns to the daylight, he/she finds himself/herself in the Museum hall, standing next to a thirteen-meter high tilted wall covered in red silica sand. The wall slices the inner space of the Museum diagonally across two floors, slashing razor-like through pillars and balustrades up to the ceiling. The wall, tilted at a 45° angle and with a base thirty-five meters long, is a fragment of one side of a pyramid which could continue in the exterior of the Museum building. A space on a scale which greatly exceeds the size of the host building is inserted into the museum’s interior. Despite its dimensions, it is only a fragment of a whole known to us, which in an imaginary way continues beyond the borders of the Museum building and which we can mentally reconstruct as a pyramid.

Domestication primarily stems from the fact that we can already imagine it based on the fragment we have at our disposal because we have become well acquainted with its form in our minds. On the entirely specific level, domestication—taming—can be seen in the possibility of walking around the pyramid from all sides, from the inside as well as from the outside; taking a look at its base from the gallery above, experiencing it from a perspective that people were to be denied. This, however, does not change anything about the fact that the essence of the form is mental, not physical. The entire pyramid is only realized through thought.

The intersection of the eastern archetypal monument—the pyramid—and its absolute geometry with‘humanized’ western architecture, its small details and scale, raises questions concerning the nature of our culture, whereby our stable coordinates which anchor us in the world become relative. Other pyramids have been constructed at various locations in Europe, but only in Vienna is the pyramid physically accessible both from the inside and outside; in Warsaw and Berlin the surface of the structure can be observed from the outside, which, because it is covered with volcanic ashes, evokes the feeling of a full compact mass, poured into the form of a heap. The confrontation of the eastern monument and European cultural history takes place differently each time, and yet on the same principle. The domestication of absolute architecture takes place in our minds.

Photos

Magdalena Jetelová - Domestication of Pyramids - Museum of Applied Arts Vienna
Magdalena JetelováDomestication of Pyramids, Museum of Applied Arts Vienna, Austria

Magdalena Jetelová - Domestication of Pyramids - Museum of Applied Arts Vienna
Magdalena JetelováDomestication of Pyramids, Museum of Applied Arts Vienna, Austria

Magdalena Jetelová - Domestication of Pyramids
Magdalena JetelováDomestication of Pyramids

Magdalena Jetelová - Domestication of Pyramids
Magdalena JetelováDomestication of Pyramids

Magdalena Jetelová - Domestication of Pyramids
Magdalena JetelováDomestication of Pyramids

Magdalena Jetelová - Domestication of Pyramids
Magdalena JetelováDomestication of Pyramids, Forumkunst Rottweil, Rottweil, Germany

Magdalena Jetelová - Domestication of Pyramids
Magdalena JetelováDomestication of Pyramids

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