BAM Annual Appeal
You never know when your efforts are going to touch someone’s heart. When I planned the installation and arranged for the loan of the conceptual artwork, “Untitled” (L.A.) by Felix Gonzalez-Torres, I considered the ways we would encourage people to interact with the work of art and the new understanding and meaning I anticipated it would inspire. I wanted this powerful artwork to help our community heal together, one candy at a time, by creating connections to the emotions we all share. I hope you have had a chance to experience it for yourself.
The artist, now deceased, created this conceptual installation after his partner died, as a kind of meditation on loss and grief, including the enduring hope that helps us to keep going. The idea is to encourage each visitor to take one of the individually wrapped green candies. As the installation diminishes, it changes, until the Museum replenishes it with new candies to restore the artwork to its original shape. The act of taking the candy, and even eating it, forms an indelible experience that lasts long after the candy is gone, creating a metaphor for letting go, cherishing memories, and moving forward. Of course, every visitor is encouraged to discern their own meaning from their individual experience.
You can imagine that we have had many different responses to this artwork – curiosity, confusion, sadness, awe, trepidation, connectedness, and joy. It has been a pleasure to talk with people as they have encountered the artwork and considered engaging with it. Children and adults have respected the artwork and only touched it once they understood that they were invited to take a piece of it.
On a recent Monday while we were closed, I was accompanying an electrician across our building to repair an outlet. We had not met before. When he asked about the candies on the floor of our Sculpture Court, I began to explain the artwork, and I immediately sensed a shift in him. He was quiet for a moment and then shared with me that, over the last month, he had been dealing with a very difficult loss after his brother was killed in a car accident. He softly said, “I think I will take you up on your invitation and take a piece of candy, if you don’t mind. Boy, I loved that guy. Thank you for this.” I had a rush of goosebumps and emotions that quickly moved from sadness to empathy and then to gratitude to have been able to share this artwork with him at a time when he really needed it. I never could have known. The artwork made it possible for us to have this conversation and to touch his heart…and mine. I will never forget this.
Your support of the Boise Art Museum makes it possible for us to continue to build community by creating unique and exceptional visual arts experiences that bring people together, inspire, educate, delight, and even heal. Thank you for considering a donation today to make our community even stronger through the power of art. Your contribution creates immediate, lasting, and unforgettable connections.
With continued gratitude,