his oeuvre as “one enormous collaboration with the public.” Elements of his installations were meant to be happened upon, touched, disseminated, and taken home; the social concerns they addressed were amplified by human interaction.
This concept reached something of an apex in 1991, when the artist mounted a potent image on 24 billboards across New York City. It showed an empty, rumpled bed, where the impressions of two bodies were still discernible: deep, soft indentations in cloud-like pillows. Gonzalez-Torres made the work the same year his partner, Ross Laycock, died from an AIDS-related illness. The piece simultaneously addressed the artist’s personal grief and universal emotions like love, intimacy, and loneliness, as well as the politics surrounding the AIDS crisis.