Félix González-Torres, Untitled (Loverboy), 1990.
"In the mid-1980s, the spread of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the underlying cause of AIDS, had begun to reap its deadly harvest within the gay community. Felix Gonzalez-Torres (1957-1996) created "Untitled (Loverboy)" in 1990 as his long-time partner Ross Laycock was dying from AIDS. The piece is deceptively simple: a stack of pale blue paper sat on the gallery floor and visitors followed instructions by taking a sheet as they walked by. As time passed, the stack of paper gradually diminished, the disappearance of which could be understood as a touching allegory of the slowly disappearing body of Gonzalez-Torres’s partner. The artist said: “I wanted to make something that would disappear completely.”