felix gonzalez torres

Untitled (Portrait of Ross in L.A.) (1991) by Felix Gonzalez-Torres at the Met Breuer. Photo by @julianasteiner.

Next week, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is adding to its blocks-long footprint when it opens a new outpost called the Met Breuer, in the former home of the Whitney Museum. This week, though, Met members got a special preview – and, by extension, first dibs on Instagramming the new digs. The most popular gram, though, isn't of the renovated space or one of the many Picassos, but an installation by the Cuban artist Felix Gonzalez-Torres. His Untitled (Portrait of Ross in L.A.) (1991) has become quite the hit, though it probably shouldn't be that surprising: The piece is essentially a 175 pound-pile of candy, from which visitors are encouraged to take samples.

Photography, on the other hand, is meant to remain off limits, maybe because of the work's weightiness: As the 175 pounds slowly diminishes, it will mirror how Gonzalez-Torres's late partner, Ross Laycock, wasted away until he eventually died of complications from AIDS. (At just 38 years old, Gonzalez-Torres also died from AIDS in 1996.)

The installation has been on display in varying forms since 1991, and its themes have run through Gonzalez-Torres's work for decades, but judging from the lightheartedness of some museumgoers's contraband Instagrams, its message might be getting buried under the pile. The good stuff is always on the bottom, anyway.

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