Felix Gonzalez-Torres was a Cuban American artist who rose to prominence in the late 1980s and early 1990s with his poignant minimalist installations. His stack pieces of unlimited edition prints make the fine art gallery space more democratic. Patrons are not only able to touch and take a piece from the artist, but the viewer becomes a collaborator as every person who takes one of the prints changes the dimensions of the sculpture. Throughout his career, Felix Gonzalez-Torres was focused on art and community as well as cultural connections. In this episode, we discussed "Untitled" (Portrait of Ross in L.A.) from 1991.
The first time, I saw this piece, I was walking through a gallery and saw just a giant pile of candy. At first, I dismissed the work as a sign of everything wrong with contemporary art. I simply walked past thinking how ridiculous it was that simply pouring bags of candy on the floor would be considered worthy of a museum. Of course, as with most things I initially dismissed, I found upon further research that it was actually quite thoughtful and deliberately created. Felix Gonzalez-Torres's work was actually a big influence on my development as an artist and a teacher in getting me to think of art as not simply a static object created by an artist for others to look at, but rather something for all to participate in.