Felix Gonzalez-Torres

November 27, 2021 – May 15, 2022

Felix Gonzalez-Torres
“Untitled” (L.A.)
Green candies individually wrapped in cellophane, endless supply
Overall dimensions vary with installation
Original weight: 50 lbs

Jointly owned by Art Bridges and Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
© The Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation
Courtesy of the Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation

Felix Gonzalez-Torres (1957-1996, Cuba) used everyday materials, such as lightbulbs, paper, and candy, to engage viewers in deeper consideration of intrapersonal and cultural issues. After moving to New York City in the early 1980s, Gonzalez-Torres joined Group Material, a community-based artist collaborative that repositioned the relationship between artist, artwork, and viewer through direct involvement and education. Gonzalez-Torres conveyed this intention in his own practice through works that challenged the notion of what defines art and how people should experience it.

“Untitled” (L.A.) is one of the artist’s candy spill works that employs the familiar and alluring material of candy—its eye-catching reflective wrappers, irresistible sweetness, and comforting nostalgia. The artist invites us to activate our senses to foster a profound, corporal relationship with the art object. Gonzalez-Torres insisted there be trust between artist and viewer, whereby the artwork serves as the neutral ground between the two. He also trusted in the power of the artwork itself. Rather than dictating a single narrative, Gonzalez-Torres left his work untitled, allowing viewers the space to see, think, and feel what is true to their own experience.

The artwork, at its core, is about human experience, and the artist hints at his own with the parenthetical title, (L.A.). Los Angeles was home for Gonzalez-Torres and his longtime partner, Ross Laycock, whom the artist lost to complications with AIDS in 1991, the year this work was created. Gonzalez-Torres’ candy spills began as a representation of Laycock, with the depletion of the candy acting as a metaphor for the physical loss of the person, but evolved to represent a variety of memories and existences. To honor the artist’s intentions, the candy is replenished every so often, through which, the people, places, and ideas they represent remain everlasting.

Generous support for this project provided by Art Bridges.


Felix Gonzalez-Torres was born in Guáimaro, Cuba on November 26, 1957 and lived in New York City between 1979 and 1995. Gonzalez-Torres attended the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program in 1981 and 1983 and received his BFA in photography from Pratt Institute (Brooklyn, NY) in 1983. He later earned his MFA from the International Center of Photography and New York University in 1987. Gonzalez-Torres received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts in 1989 and 1993. He was included in hundreds of group shows during his lifetime, including those at the Whitney Biennial (1991), the Venice Biennale (1993), the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (1995), and the Art Institute of Chicago (1995). There have been multiple comprehensive retrospectives of the artist’s work since his passing in Miami on January 6, 1996 from AIDS-related complications. In 2007, Gonzalez-Torres was selected to represent the United States posthumously at the Venice Biennale in the exhibition Felix Gonzalez-Torres: America.

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