“Girlfriend in a Coma” and Felix Gonzalez-Torres, “Untitled” (L.A.), 1991
Smart Museum of Art
♪ Girlfriend in a coma, I know
I know, it’s really serious
There were times when I could
Have murdered her
But you know, I would hate
Anything to happen to her ♪♪
Hi my name is Cecille Graham, I’m a college student at the University of Chicago and a student in the “Monochrome Multitudes” seminar.
“Girlfriend in a Coma” is the title of a song by the Smiths. The Smiths lyrics center on a man confronted with the severity of his girlfriend’s comatose state.
In 1996, this artwork here was part of Felix’s exhibition at Musee d’Art Moderne in Paris: “Felix Gonzalez-Torres (Girlfriend in a Coma).” The press release referenced AIDS specifically as inspiration for the exhibit, in stating Felix Gonzalez’s view of the body as a complicated site of all repressions, pains, and pleasures, echoing the ambivalence of Morrisey’s lyrics.
Certain artworks by Felix Gonzalez-Torres make explicit connection to his identity as a gay man, especially in addressing the horrific reality of the AIDS epidemic and homophobia.
“Untitled” (L.A.) was created in 1991, the same year that Gonzalez-Torres’s beloved partner Ross Laycock lost his life due to an AIDS-related illness, and only a few years before Felix’s own eventual death in 1996.
Gonzalez-Torres said of his “Untitled” candy series: “Above all else, it is about leaving a mark that I existed: I was here. I was hungry. I was defeated. I was happy. I was sad. I was in love. I was afraid. I was hopeful. I had an idea and I had a good purpose and that’s why I made works of art.”
♪ Do you really think
She’ll pull through
Do you really think
She’ll pull through
Ooh ooh ooh ♪♪
Long Image DescriptionLong descriptions are text versions of the information provided in a detailed or complex image, like the image above.
A river of pale green candies in shiny clear wrappers winds across a dark gray gallery floor. Each candy is circular. The expanse of candies follows the edge of the wall and is roughly one foot deep. The candies are evenly distributed in one layer within the rectangle and lay on a speckled terrazzo floor.