Just a final thing that came to mind is an installation art piece I once saw in a gallery where a pile of candy was piled in the corner of the room. Next the candy a sign read, “please take one.” At first I wasn’t exactly sure what that meant, until I saw a person next to me grab a piece of candy from the pile, throw it in her mouth and walk away. This is probably the first time I saw someone physically touch and change an art piece in a gallery, but following her example, I grabbed a piece of candy, ate it and walked away (it was lemon flavored). Later that day I looked it up. It was a piece by Felix Gonzalez-Torres called “Portrait of Ross in L.A.” A website describes it as “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.”
The idea of a diminishing art piece is pretty cool, I think. For one, it very much breaks the boundary between the audience and the art piece. Secondly, theres something very interesting about the artwork being physically ingested by the audience and spread around the world. Also, the candy tasted pretty good — I ended up taking two.