Untitled (Portrait of Ross in L.A.)

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Untitled (Portrait of Ross in L.A.)
"Untitled" (Portrait of Ross in L.A.) by Felix Gonzalez-Torres.jpg
A man taking a piece from the work.
ArtistFélix González-Torres
Weight175 pounds (79 kg)
LocationArt Institute of Chicago

Untitled (Portrait of Ross in L.A.) is a work of art produced by Félix González-Torres in 1991, in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago.[1] It consists of a spilled pile of candies. Dimensions vary with installation, however it ideally weighs 175 pounds (79 kg), per González-Torres' vision.[2] Viewers are encouraged to take a piece of the candy.


In 1988, González-Torres' partner Ross Laycock was diagnosed with AIDS, and died of it the same year as Untitled (Portrait of Ross in L.A.)'s creation.[3][4][a] The piece serves as an "allegorical portrait," of Laycock's life.[3]

Description and showcase[edit]

Untitled (Portrait of Ross in L.A.) consists of a pile of candies individually wrapped in multicolor cellophane.[2] When displayed the pile of candies should ideally weigh 175 pounds (79 kg)—Laycock's body weight when healthy.[3] Viewers are encouraged to take a piece and the artwork's owner are to decide if it will be replenished.[3] Photos are discouraged, possibly due to the subject matter at hand.[5]

Art handlers at the Art Insitiute of Chicago, recalled that "During very busy periods, [we] may replenish the pile twice weekly, with approximately 45 pounds being added to the sculpture."[3] "On average, we add 15 or 20 pounds weekly." Sometimes the handlers would add candies to rebalance the piece's color.[3]

As of 2019 the piece is featured in multiple art museums around the world.[6]


Lauren Weinberg of Time Out Chicago interpreted it similarly: "the diminishment recalls how he wasted away before dying."[3] The Art Story Foundation viewed the candy eating aspect as "[one becoming] complicit in the disappearing process - akin to the years-long public health crisis of HIV/AIDS."[7]


The Art Story Foundation called Untitled (Portrait of Ross in L.A.) "one of González-Torres's most recognizable works."[7]


  1. ^ Gonzalez-Torres, Felix. ""Untitled" (Portrait of Ross in L.A.)". The Art Institute of Chicago. Retrieved 2021-05-17.
  2. ^ a b Staff, Public Delivery (2016-11-16). "Why did Félix González-Torres put free candy in a museum?". Public Delivery. Retrieved 2020-08-01.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Weinberg, Lauren (March 19, 2013). "Art Institute candy sculpture | What's up with that?". Time Out Chicago. Retrieved 2020-08-01.
  4. ^ a b Diamond, Shawn (2016). "Requiem for the shadows: Poetry, spirituality, and future memory in the light strings of Felix Gonzalez-Torres". Retrieved July 18, 2020.
  5. ^ Eckardt, Stephanie (March 13, 2016). "Felix Gonzalez-Torres's Candy Installation at the Met Breuer". W. Retrieved 2020-08-01.
  6. ^ Ankus, Justin (November 17, 2019). ""Untitled" (Portrait of Ross in L.A.) Felix Gonzalez-Torres | Urban Splatter". Urban Splatter. Retrieved 2020-08-01.
  7. ^ a b "Gonzalez-Torres Artworks & Famous Paintings". The Art Story. Archived from the original on 2020-07-13. Retrieved 2020-07-17.


  1. ^ Laycock was likely feeling the effects of HIV before his diagnosis.[4]