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.