12/1/07 - 3/23/08

Felix Gonzalez-Torres

Andrea Gyorody, Class of 2009, Graduate Program in the History of Art, .

Felix Gonzalez-Torres (b. Guáimaro, Cuba, 1957-1996) ’s “Untitled” (Placebo), 1991, a monumental installation, on loan from the Museum of Modern Art, New York, features a single sculpture comprised of 1200 pounds—nearly 40,000 pieces—of silver-wrapped hard candy. This exhibition presents in observance of World AIDS Day, December 1, and continues a 16-year tradition at the museum.

One of Gonzalez-Torres’s “candy spills,” “Untitled” (Placebo) consists of 1,200 pounds of silver-wrapped hard candy arranged as a stunning carpet on the floor of the museum’s largest gallery. Visitors are invited to take a candy and in so doing, contribute to the slow disappearance of the sculpture over the course of the exhibition. Gonzalez-Torres explores similar themes in his stacks of take-away posters, which also depend upon visitors’ participation in the piece. Though Gonzalez-Torres created “Untitled” (Placebo) in response to the AIDS epidemic and, in particular, the loss of his partner, Ross, his use of an everyday commodity like candy allows viewers to draw their own meanings from each of his works.

About the artist

Felix Gonzalez-Torres, born in 1957, grew up in Puerto Rico and Cuba before moving to New York City. He received his BFA from Pratt Institute, attended the prestigious Whitney Museum Independent Study Program, and earned his MFA from New York University and the International Center of Photography. Following his first gallery show at Andrea Rosen Gallery in New York in 1991, Gonzalez-Torres has been the subject of many exhibitions, including American and European traveling retrospectives. Although he died in 1996 of AIDS-related complications, his work has continued to receive international attention. Most recently, he was selected as the United States representative at the 2007 Venice Bienniale, only the second artist to have ever been chosen posthumously.

About World AIDS Day

World AIDS Day, December 1, was first held in 1988 in order to increase awareness and education about the disease with the aim of stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS. Today, an estimated 1,200,000 persons in the United States are living with HIV/AIDS, with around 25% undiagnosed and unaware of their HIV infection. Worldwide, an estimated 39.5 million people are living with HIV or AIDS. Since the identification of HIV/AIDS in 1981, approximately 25 million people have died of AIDS. For more information, please visit: