"Untitled" (Portrait of Ross in L.A.) | The Art Institute of Chicago (2023)

"Untitled" (Portrait of Ross in L.A.) | The Art Institute of Chicago (1)

© The Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation.

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  • "Untitled" (Portrait of Ross in L.A.) | The Art Institute of Chicago (2)

“Untitled” (Portrait of Ross in L.A.)




Felix Gonzalez-Torres
American, born Cuba, 1957–1996

(Video) Hide/Seek: "Untitled(Portrait of Ross in L.A.)" by Felix Gonzalez-Torres - National Portrait Gallery

About this artwork

Felix Gonzalez-Torres produced meaningful and restrained sculptural forms out of common materials. “Untitled” (Portrait of Ross in L.A.) consists of an ideal weight of 175 pounds of shiny, commercially distributed candy. The work’s physical form and scale change with each display, affected by its placement in the gallery as well as audience interactions. Regardless of its physical shape, the label lists its ideal weight, likely corresponding to the average body weight of an adult male, or perhaps the ideal weight of the subject referred to in the title, Ross Laycock, the artist’s partner who died of complications from AIDS in 1991, as did Gonzalez-Torres in 1996. As visitors take candy, the configuration changes, linking the participatory action with loss—even though the work holds the potential for endless replenishment.


On View, Gallery 293


Contemporary Art


Felix Gonzalez-Torres


"Untitled" (Portrait of Ross in L.A.)


United States (Artist's nationality)




Candies in variously colored wrappers, endless supply


Dimensions vary with installation; ideal weight 175 lbs.

Credit Line

Gift of Donna and Howard Stone

Reference Number



© The Felix Gonzalez-Torres Foundation.

Extended information about this artwork

  • David Pagel, “World of Gonzalez-Torres. Testers on Joy and Despair,” Los Angeles Times (Nov. 7, 1991), section F, p. 6 (ill.).
  • R. J. Merrill, “Rituals and Allegories. Felix Gonzalez-Torres at Luhring Augustine Hetzler,” Artweek (Nov. 14, 1991), p. 14 (ill.).
  • Nicola White, Simon Watney and Vito Russo, Read My Lips: New York AIDS Polemics, exh. cat. (Glasgow: Tramway, 1992): 49 (ill.).
  • Nancy Spector, “Felix Gonzalez-Torres,” in Felix Gonzalez-Torres, exh. cat. (New York: Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, 1995), 150–51, 222–23 (ill.).
  • “Felix Gonzalez-Torres (Album),” in Blocnotes, Sept./Oct. 1996, p. 87 (ill.).
  • Gerhard Mack, “Am Fusse des Kulturpalastes,” in St. Galler Tagblatt (October 30, 1996), n.pag. (ill.).
  • Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Felix Gonzalez-Torres: Catalogue Raisonné, exh. cat. by Dietmar Elger (Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz Verlag, 1997), cat. 168 (color ill.).
  • Lisa Stein, “What a concept: Museums try to preserve art when it goes beyond objects,” Chicago Tribune (October 22, 2000), section 7, 14 (ill.).
  • Elena Carotti, Terry Piazzoli, and Joy Ledgister-Holness, eds., Il Dono: The Gift (Milan: Edizioni Charta, 2001), 195 (ill.).
  • Nancy Spector, Cream 3: 10 Curators, 100 Contemporary Artists, 10 Source Artists, (London: Phaidon, 2003), 426 (ill.).
  • Jean Sousa, A Guide to Looking at Art: Faces, Places and Inner Spaces, (New York: Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2006), 32, 46 (ill.).
  • “Gallery One: Felix Gonzales-Torres,” Queer Cultural Center On-Line Programs,
  • http://www.queerculturalcenter.org/Pages/FelixGT/FelixGallery.html.
  • James Rondeau and Judith Russi Kirshner, Contemporary collecting: the Donna and Howard Stone collection, exh. cat. (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago; New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010),16, 62, 63 (color ill.), 142 (ill.).
  • Tine Engel Mogensen, I Love You, exh. cat. (Aarhus: ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, 2010), 88 (color ill.), 89.
  • Mark Rosenthal, Marla Prather, Ian Alteveer, Rebecca Lowery, Polly Apfelbaum, John Baldessari, Vija Celmins, Chuck Close, Robert Gober, Hans Haacke, Alfredo Jaar, Deborah Kass, Alex Katz, Jeff Koons, Julian Schnabel, Robert Trecartin, and Luc Tuymans, Regarding Warhol : sixty artists, fifty years, exh. cat. (New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art; New Haven, CT: Distributed by Yale University Press, 2012), 41, 45, cat. 78 (color ill.), 290.
  • Björn Geldhof, Olga Rudneva, and Pavel Piminov, Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way, exh. cat. (Kyiv: Pinchuk Art Centre, 2013), n.p. (color ill.)
  • General Reference:
  • Suzanne Perling Hudson, “Beauty and the Status of Contemporary Criticism,” October 104 (Spring 2003), pp. 124–26.
  • Caroline Culp, Alexis Bard Johnson, Yinshi Lerman-Tan, Gigi Otálvaro-Hormillosa, Natalie Pellolio, Missing Persons, exh. cat. (Stanford: Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Stanford University, 2015), 6 (color ill); 12 (color ill), 67.
(Video) Virtual Member Conversation: Mark Rothko and Felix Gonzalez-Torres

  • Los Angeles, Luhring Augustine Hetzler Gallery, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Oct. 19–Nov. 16, 1991, no cat.
  • Pully, Switzerland, Musee D’Art Contemporain, Post Human: New Forms of Figuration in Contemporary Art, June 14–Sept. 13, 1992 CAT. INFO. PENDING; Rivoli, Italy, Castello di Rivoli, Oct. 1–Nov. 22, 1992, Athens, Deste Foundation for Contemporary Art, Dec. 3, 1992–Feb. 14, 1993, Hamburg, Deichtorhallen, Mar. 12–May 9, 1993, Jerusalem, Israel Museum, June 21–Oct. 10, 1993.
  • Toronto, Art Gallery of Ontario, Works on loan from the Collection of Vivian and David Campbell, Jan. 21–Aug. 6, 1993, no cat.
  • Hovikodden, Norway, Sonja Henie-Niels Onstad Art Center, Tema Aids, May 8–July 8, 1993, CAT. INFO PENDING; Bergen, Norway Museum, July–November, Hagen, Germany Karl Ernst Osthaus-Museum, Dec. 1, 1993–Jan. 9, 1994, as Thema: Aids.
  • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Present Tense: Nine Artists in the Nineties, Sept. 13, 1997–Jan. 13, 1998, cat. 9.
  • Barcelona, Museu d’Art Contemporani, Artificial: Contemporary Figures, Jan. 21–Mar. 15, 1998, no cat. no.
  • New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, The American Century: Art and Culture 1900–2000, Sept. 26, 1999–Feb. 13, 2000, no cat. no.
  • Musee d’Art Contemporain de Montreal, Culbutes Oevre d’impertienence/Head over Heels into the Millennium, Nov. 18–Apr. 23, 2000, no cat. no.
  • New York, Luhring Augustine Gallery, Untitled (Sculpture): Kendall Geers, Martin Kippenburger, Reinhard Mle ucha, Rachel Whiteread, Janet Cardiff and George Bures Miller, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Robert Gober, Tunga, Steve Wolfe, Jan. 8–Feb. 12, 2000, no cat.
  • Philadelphia, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, s(how): ICA Art History Project, May 3–July 27, 2003, no cat.
  • Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Universal Experience: Art, Life and the Tourist’s Eye, Feb. 12–June 5, 2005, no cat. no.; London, Hayward Gallery, Oct. 6–Dec. 11, 2005; Museo de Arte Moderna e Conteporanea de Trento e Rovereto (MART), Feb. 10–May 14, 2006, no cat. no.
  • Kunstmuseum Bern, Six Feet Under: Autopsy of Our Relation to the Dead, Nov. 2, 2006–Jan. 21, as Untitled (Portrait of Ross in L.A.), CAT. INFO PENDING; Dresden, Deutsche Hygiene-Museum, Sept. 22, 2007-Mar. 3 2008.
  • New York, Apexart, Let Everything be Temporary, or When is the Exhibition?, Jan. 10–Feb. 17, 2007, no cat. no.
  • Brussels, WIELS Centre d’Art Contemporain, Felix Gonzalez-Torres: Specific Objects Without Specific Form, Jan. 16–May 2, 2010, CAT. INFO PENDING; Basel, Foundation Beyeler, May 21-July 25, 2010; Frankfurt, Museum fur Moderne Kunst, Jan. 28-Apr. 25, 2011.
  • Aarhus, Denmark, ARoS Aarhus Kunstmuseum, I Love You, Mar. 27-Sept. 12, 2010, no cat. no.
  • Art Institute of Chicago, Contemporary Collecting: Selections from the Donna and Howard Stone Collection, June 24-Sept. 19, 2010, no cat. no.
  • Washington, D.C., National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, Oct. 30, 2010-Feb. 13, 2011, CAT. INFO PENDING; Brooklyn Museum of Art, Nov. 18, 2011–Feb. 12, 2012, Tacoma Art Museum, Mar. 17-June 10, 2012.
  • Chicago, Smart Museum of Art, FEAST: Radical Hospitality and Contemporary Art, Feb. 16-June 10, 2012, CAT. INFO PENDING.
  • New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years, Sept. 18–Dec. 31, 2012, cat. 78; Pittsburgh, Andy Warhol Museum, Feb. 3-Apr. 28, 2013.
  • Chicago, Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, Could Not Bear the Sight of It: Contemporary Art Interventions on Critical Whiteness, Oct. 23-Nov. 21, 2012, no cat.
  • Chapel Hill, North Carolina, Ackland Art Museum, More Love: Art, Politics, and Sharing since the 1990s, Feb. 1-Mar. 31, 2013, CAT. INFO PENDING; Nashville, Cheekwood Estate and Gardens, Sept. 21-Dec. 31, 2013.
  • Kyiv, Pinchuk Art Centre, Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way, Nov. 16, 2013-Jan. 5, 2014, no cat. no.
  • Palo Alto, Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Stanford University, Missing Persons, Nov. 11, 2015–Mar. 21, 2016, no cat. no.
  • New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible, Mar. 18-Sept. 4, 2016, CAT. INFO PENDING.
  • Shanghai, Rockbund Art Museum, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Sept. 30-Dec. 25, 2016, no cat.
  • Arhaus, Denmark, ARoS Arhaus Kunstmuseum, Objects of Wonder, Oct. 12, 2019-Mar. 1, 2020, CAT. INFO PENDING.

The artist; sold through Luhring Augustine Hetzler, Los Angeles, to Vivian and David Campbell, Warren, VT by Mar. 21,1992 [email from Zachary Boozer, Luhring Augustine Gallery, June 3, 2022; copy in curatorial object file]; sold through Luhring Augustine, New York, to Donna and Howard Stone, Chicago, Nov. 10, 1995; given to the Art Institute of Chicago, Sept.13, 2022.

(Video) MoCP Behind the Lens: Ross Sawyers

  • Audio stop 924.mp3

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email . Information about image downloads and licensing is available here.


(Video) Curator's Picks: 5 Artists Not to Miss | Dallas Virtual Editions Fair
(Video) Hide/Seek: Portraits by Felix Gonzalez-Torres and David Wojnarowicz - National Portrait Gallery


What is the meaning of Untitled Portrait of Ross in LA? ›

“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.

Where is Untitled Portrait of Ross? ›

"Untitled" (Portrait of Ross in L.A.) | The Art Institute of Chicago.

Where can I see Felix Gonzalez Torres art? ›

Félix González-Torres

Why do artists use Untitled? ›

By choosing not to assign a title, the artist allows others to experience the artwork in a fresh way, as if each viewer is the first person to encounter this object. Most of the artworks in this exhibition have their title officially recorded as Untitled.

Why do artists not title their work? ›

Many visual artists philosophize that their art should speak for itself and allow the viewer the freedom to develop their own interpretations. By intentionally omitting titles, the artist keeps the work's meaning open-ended and the artwork transcends beyond the constraints of categorization and representation.


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