Halloween has had a wide range of significance throughout history. From the Celtic pagan holiday Samhain, to the Mexican Dia de los muertos, or the Roman Feralia, each of these holidays has its ritual traditions of sharing food with spirits of our dead ancestors.
In the United States, however, we have condensed these traditions into the popular trick-or-treat practice, which, let’s face it, involves candy.
So today, we celebrate candy in art, candy as art, the art of candy.
This example of a typical Dia de los muertos mask decorated the 2010 window of a store on Wooster Street in New York (fairly well known for its public art), a display made entirely of candy.
The 1991 installation of artist Félix González-Torres in the Art Institute of Chicago looks like a colorful heap of wrapped candies. And, that’s what It is. The concept behind it, however, is quite poignant:
“Untitled” (Portrait of Ross in L.A.) is an allegorical representation of the artist’s partner, Ross Laycock, who died of an AIDS-related illness in 1991. The installation is comprised of 175 pounds of candy, corresponding to Ross’s ideal body weight. Viewers are encouraged to take a piece of candy, and the diminishing amount parallels Ross’s weight loss and suffering prior to his death. Gonzalez-Torres stipulated that the pile should be continuously replenished, thus metaphorically granting perpetual life. (quoted from the AIC website)
These sweet pieces by strategic- and creative-thinker Craig Kanarick are just a few examples of his talents in design and photography.
And, on this very personal note, I will tell you how much I miss Richart Chocloates.
This photograph should be an explanation in itself, but if you need more proof of their art, just look at the care and creativity of this Parisian chocolatier displayed in examples on their website. And, even if you think they are too pretty to eat, believe me, they taste even better than they look.
Finally, I’d like to introduce you to a few photos from Abel Klainbaum’s series, Bugs & Candy.
Although one might expect that their juxtaposition on sweet treats would only draw attention to the creepy quality of these critters, somehow Klainbaum makes bugs delightfully appealing in this series.
He makes you realize that they share with us a love of candy.
You can almost hear them saying,
“Trick or Treat!”
Rogers, Nicholas. Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night. Oxford University Press, 2003.
Brandes, Stanley. “The Day of the Dead, Halloween, and the Quest for Mexican National Identity.” The Journal of American Folklore, Vol. 111, No. 442, Autumn, 1998.