a treatise on modern art

Often times I find myself pondering things. Now there really is no pattern to what I ponder, or for how long, but the fact is that I ponder at times. One specific occasion was last June. I found myself neck deep in a discussion of fine art. Suffice to say, I know nothing of any importance about anything regarding fine art, but for the sake of a conversation that even mildly crossed into the realm of intellectuality, I played along. My counterpart, being an art education major, was fairly docile in his discourse about his personal favorites, which in turn led me to believe he wasn’t buying any of the crap I was selling. Long story short, this got me thinking. Lo and behold, 7 months later I found myself visiting the Art Institute in Chicago, an institution whose doorway I had not darkened for the better part of 7 years.

This is my experience..

“candy in corner”

“Beautifully done, awe inspiring, and fulfilling. Everything a man could want from art, a true look into the weakness and struggle of man.” – me

My first impression, “what the hell is that?” Yes, it is indeed a pile of candy in a corner, and yes one can delve into the pile and partake of the art. The display itself is around 180 lbs of individually wrapped hard candies. Here’s a tidbit on the artists idea –

‎”Felix Gonzalez-Torres produced work of uncompromising beauty and simplicity, transforming the everyday into profound meditations on love and loss. “Untitled” (Portrait of Ross in L.A.) is an allegorical representation of the artist’s partner, Ross Laycock, who died of an AIDS-related illness in 1991. The installation is comprised of 175 pounds of candy, corresponding to Ross’s ideal body weight. Viewers are encouraged to take a piece of candy, and the diminishing amount parallels Ross’s weight loss and suffering prior to his death. Gonzalez-Torres stipulated that the pile should be continuously replenished, thus metaphorically granting perpetual life.”

Heartwarming, I know. I did feel significant remorse after spending around 15 minutes insulting the display, but AIDs or not, there is no excuse for making every piece pineapple flavored.

“Stick in corner”

I’m sorry, but I have no words for this.

“box on sticks with wheel”

I still don’t really recall what the explanation was for this piece, but it is safe to say, a bird could live quite comfortably in that box. It’s painfully obvious to me that both my brother and friend Sam did on the other hand, understand the point, or so their expressions would suggest.

“pile of gray paper on floor”

I don’t have a photo of this piece (a grave mistake), but this was truly my favorite piece of art from that day. What the display consisted of was a quite superfluous stack of large gray rectangles of paper. That’s all. Stacked about 2 feet up from the floor, they just sat there. That wasn’t enough for me though. No sir. Upon further investigation I found the artist had intended for the viewer (momentary artist) to become part of the display by taking a piece of paper and keeping it. Maybe they could draw on it, use it as a placemat, fold it into a paper airplane, burn it, cut people with it, wrap a sandwich, the possibilities abound (interesting concept actually). Mind = blown. What did we choose to do with the paper you ask?

I give you “Iraq War”

We made hats, and beautiful art to boot.



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