Felix Gonzalez-Torres, “Untitled” (Placebo), 1991, candies in silver wrappers, endless supply. Installation view in “Measure Your Existence,” 2020, at Rubin Museum of Art, New York.
“What I find so interesting in what I’ll call the ‘viral approach’ in art of the AIDS era is that these are works that attempt to degrade the notion of a substantive distinction between two populations, between those who are at risk and those who are presumed to be not at risk. And it was calculated to bear this political message in such a way as to be undetected by the authoritative institutions like museums which were rigorously refusing to show any AIDS-related or politicized art at the time. But, like viruses, through invading the museum’s immune system, it could set up shop and propagate its own counter-discourse from within.”