Written while viewing “Untitled” (Portrait of Ross in L.A.) by Felix Gonzalez-Torres.
I went to the Met yesterday and picked up 3 pieces of you. Wrapped in silver, gold, and blue; tasting like caramel or chocolate (or so I hear, I didn’t want to diminish you). Felix gave you to the world asking for nothing but salvation. So I put you in my coat pocket next to some balled up receipts, and now you sit on my dresser, existing.
I don’t know if you know what your love story does to us, Ross. What candy, light bulbs, and a pair of ticking clocks could ignite within young queer hearts, fleeing to New York. What Felix did was extraordinary – he took your ashes and set them free. Now they last longer, blow faster than through the wind or through the sea. Your love, wrapped in foil, travels through Manhattan like a pulse. And now to me.
It’s been a weird week, Ross. I rounded the corner at the Warhol exhibit and saw the Portrait of you and started to cry. Time runs out, and that’s okay. A boy I know just got diagnosed with leukemia. A girl jumped out of a window on my first day of school. I’m terrified of going home to find everything different, missing, gone.
There are too many sirens in this city. But although they keep waking me up at night, at least I can fall back asleep now.
“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.”
When people ask me, “Who is your public?” I say honestly, without skipping a beat, “Ross.” The public was Ross. The rest of the people just come to the work.
- Felix Gonzales Torres