Monday, November 16, 2015

High-priced candy: "Untitled" (L.A.) acquired by Crystal Bridges

Posted By on Mon, Nov 16, 2015 at 3:44 PM

click to enlarge "Untitled" (L.A.), Felix Gonzalez-Torres, shown here at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.
  • "Untitled" (L.A.), Felix Gonzalez-Torres, shown here at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth.
Artnet News reported Friday that Felix Gonzalez-Torres' "Untitled" (L.A.), a swath of candies wrapped in green cellophane, sold at auction at Christie's "Postwar and Contemporary Evening Sale" for $7.67 million. 

The Nov. 10 sale came on the eve of 11/11/15, the fourth anniversary of the opening of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Perhaps museum angel Alice Walton was celebrating the museum's birthday, because the museum today announced the acquisition of "Untitled" (L.A.).

The Cuban-born Gonzalez-Torres, who died in 1996 of AIDS-related complications, made several candy installations, including one for his late partner, Ross Laycock. They are seen as metaphors for the body. The piece is to be unveiled later this year.

From the museum's news release:

Bentonville, Ark.— Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art recently acquired “Untitled” (L.A.), 1991, (green candies individually wrapped in cellophane, endless supply, ideal weight: 50 pounds) by Felix Gonzalez-Torres (1957-1996). In “Untitled” (L.A.), small, green candies wrapped in cellophane are spread across the gallery floor, so that viewers may touch, take, and consume the work, which can be endlessly replenished. An unassuming and unexpected gesture, the work will debut in the galleries in the coming months.

“In its use of everyday materials and simplified form, “Untitled” (L.A.) appropriates the minimalist approach developed by artists already included in the Crystal Bridges collection like Donald Judd and Dan Flavin,” said Crystal Bridges Curator Chad Alligood. “Gonzalez-Torres expanded on this vocabulary to address critical issues in the United States during the 1980s and ‘90s, such as the AIDS crisis, individual social responsibility, and the divide between the public and private spheres. The artist asked the public to take responsibility, to become a part of the work: this is art you can touch, take, and taste. Like many of Gonzalez-Torres’s works, its open-endedness incorporates the viewer’s interaction, both physical and conceptual, to make meaning. In its spirit of generosity, this acquisition particularly dovetails with Crystal Bridges’ mission to welcome all to celebrate the American spirit. And, because “Untitled” (L.A.) is a major work by one of the most important and influential Latino artists of the 20th century, it helps us tell an expanded story of American art.”

The piece may have originally been part of the collection of Dallas art collector Howard Rachofsky; it was on loan to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth in 2008, and in November 2014 Rachofsky told the Wall Street Journal that he had sold two pieces, which he declined to identify, from his collection to auction houses.

Rachofsky's work appeared in the 1991 Whitney Biennial, the 1993 Venice Biennale and the 1996 Sydney Biennale.  

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