The work of Felix Gonzales-Torres meant a lot to me when I discovered it in my junior year of high school. As you can imagine, I was excited to share this work with my students. In Portrait of Ross, Gonzales-Torres displayed a pile of candy in the gallery and invited viewers to take a piece. The pile was equal in weight to Gonzales-Torres’s lover, Ross, who was at the time undergoing AIDS treatment. To state the obvious, this piece is incredibly powerful and haunting, and sparked a very thoughtful conversation with the students.
We used this work to model the decay of an exponential function. You can download the worksheet here. We used a few other works by Felix Gonzales-Torres to model rates of growth and decay, including The Lovers and Lights.