December 13, 2006

Kids On Art: Felix Gonzalez-Torres


One of my favorite artists is Felix Gonzalez-Torres, whose work I used to collect before it went stratospherically beyond my price range. We installed a sculpture of his, 180 pounds of wrapped candy dumped in the corner, a couple of months before the kid was born, and I remember sitting in childbirth class just a couple of days later, watching the nurse hold up a toilet paper tube, and realizing I'd just dumped 180 lbs of choke hazards in our living room.

The kid's very good about not touching art. In fact, her definition of art is "something you don't touch." Which I'm conflicted about, not just because Felix's work rejects that idea completely. So rather than try to explain conceptual, collaborative, ephemeral art to a 1-yo, we just made sure never to call the candy pile "art" in front of the kid. We'll catch her up later, I figure.

As for the choke hazard, we settled for eternal vigilance, and decided that whenever the kid got near the pile, we'd stop whatever we were doing, and engage her, making sure she didn't put them in her mouth. [Yeah, the psychological scars of living with a pile of candy your parents constantly swat out of your hand, I've already thought of that.] She eventually learned that the easiest, funnest way to get our undivided attention was to make a mad crawling dash for the candy pile. It worked every time, at least until we had to throw the candy out; some bugs got into it while we were in Japan last summer. Gross.

This all crossed my mind when I saw the picture above of a baby parked on top of a Felix Gonzalez-Torres sculpture at the Renaissance Society in Chicago back in 1994.


Whoa, dude, you just rocked the image I had of you. I didn't realize you lived in a place that could support 180 lbs of candy!

I would've just eaten the candy.

Later, as an adult, she'll probably twitch when offered candy.

30 g's for a friggen pile of candy, give me a break, you rich people are nuts. The guy couldn't draw, paint or sculpt so he just puts candy on a pedestal and says it a sculpture.

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