It’s all for Ross.

Sometimes, the institution really upsets me. I mean, I’m not one to naively believe we could completely do without structure at this point, but I just feel like things are taken advantage of, which is why I tend to have the utmost respect for institutional critique. (I provided a link to wikipedia for insitutional critique, for those of you who may be searching for context here unfamiliar with the term)

What is with this sudden (rebirth of) animosity? Well, my friend emilyvanhoff texted me a photo of Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s retrospective currently up at the Art Institute (she has seen firsthand what kind of powerful surge of random emotion comes over me when it comes to FGT so she sends me pictures of his work when she sees it…what a good friend [total emily shout-out]) (She sent me a picture of Untitled (Golden) (1995) for those who are curious.
Anyways, the text on the wall that the museum places—this is where it stems from. She pointed out to me that it seems absurd to her that they can post such text with no mention of Ross Laycock, whom Felix identified in a number of interviews with Robert Storr without remission as his audience. [“When people ask me, ‘Who is your public?’ I say honestly, without skipping a beat, ‘Ross.’ The public was Ross. The rest of the people just come to the work.”]

No mention. I found myself wondering about the number of reasons the museum could choose to leave this out, and I won’t get into what I specifically suspect is the case here, but it just seems wrong to me that they would choose to omit this information, particularly because so many people respect the institution as the source of correct, truthful and wholly complete information. Although this is not the case, as many involved particularly in art history are aware, it is presented as such to the general public. Which I suppose shouldn’t concern me as much as it does but, in short, it does. It just feels like robbery.

Anyways, emily and i meditated on some solutions to make ourselves feel better about this issue, which included vandalism by way of addition of more vinyl lettering (if this happens, it honestly wasn’t us), a sign featuring more information to be worn by someone during museum hours, and t-shirts (Torres himself had a pension penchant for making t-shirts)

So, I made up a few mock screens.

Oh my life. Why oh why do I care so much about FGT?

One, fixed the lettering to a more structured Helvetica font which is cleaner (and more what I wanted) than the faux distressed look from before. Two, got rid of the black band. Three, re-spelled “synchronized” (thanks guys for being a good spell check… not!) I still have some issues with a couple of things but yeah. Here’s this version. If you want to hear more about why I thought the first ones needed change, please read the comments between Emily and I.
Technical aspects: utilized the typewriter style text from Felix’s letter to Ross, as well as his traditional drawings of two clocks synchronized to the same time, representing him and Ross.  In addition, I utilized a line from his letter to Ross that you’re probably familiar with if you’re looking at this blog (it’s my header, champs) which I feel gives the slogan some context. Simply slogan-ized Torres’ interview answer (posted above) into “It’s all for Ross”, and since Torres didn’t use apostrophes in his letter to Ross, I didn’t use them in the slogan. Also, the “We are synchronized […]” is set up grammatically the same as Felix’s letter (capitalizations, sentence structure, spellings, punctuation, etcetera)

Might print these. 



16 responses to “It’s all for Ross.

  1. I'll wear it, with pride!

  2. Please tell me you are making shirts. PLEASE.

  3. Awe, Emily I want to make some now. And Tom, I bought something the other day that I must show you.

  4. make it!!if you do, i vote that I like the "we are synchronized, now and forever" to be on it, but the black box is too geometric and sharp to go with the hand drawn type. so i say make it black text with no box, or make a hand drawn looking box for it to go in. also, if i'm allowed to picky, (who are we kidding, i'm emily, i just am!) I think you should change the second S in ROSS so that it isn't exactly the same as the first S. when you do distressed type, it's just no good to have double letters that are the same, it looks too fake.but i love it!

  5. Emily, this is why i love you. I want to switch out the font for Ross. It's called Helvetidoodle and I like the concept in terms of it being an outlined version of helvetica but its just too distressed/handwritten for me (call me a purist but I just really love helvetica for its structure). So I'm actually looking through new fonts at this point. Also, totally agree with you. On a shirt or something similar I think the black box would be too much, let alone the fact that the text wouldn't be as crisp in printing. Plus, its looking a whole lot like a label maker strip right now to me. I thought about it after I did it, and have a combo one sans black box and plus new Ross font in the works but I haven't settled on the Ross font yet, so its not ready for upload. I'll let you know when it's done so you can give me another opinion. 🙂

  6. oooo! totally looking better!My suggestion: stop searching for fonts, and start drawing them! you got some mad drawing skillz, yo. I'd draw the whole thing if i was you, "it's all for" and everything. that way it won't just kinda look hand drawn, it will BE hand drawn, and that just wins at everything. 🙂

  7. and if you do that and need help editing once you scan it, send it over. I've got a lot of practice in that area on a secret project this summer… one that you're gonna love so much!! and you get one when it's done, so be excited!

  8. oooh secret project! I'm excited—i love your secret projects! And yeah, I plan to draw out one regardless; you know I love to draw. This mock-up is just basically a template and computer-friendly version so people can see and I can get the layout worked out without ripping a hole in the paper with a pencil eraser. haha besides, I want to use the ACTUAL font from the letter for the "we are synchronized" and "its all for" lines, which I can only reproduce by hand since Lord knows wouldn't have such a thing.

  9. Which I have started sketching out the text from the letter to get the distress down in the right spots for the line, since it wouldn't be consistent distressing since the letter was legit written on a typewriter. So I will for sure need an opinion from you on that when I get it together!

  10. Emily, you're probably going to crack up when you read me type this (or be incredibly proud), but if you look at the actual letter from Torres and the stupid typewriter font I have, the kerning and tracking are soooooo off (tom's rolling his eyes and looking up kerning/tracking right now… Tom, spacing between letters and the relationship between pairs of letters). With the actual typewriter, the letters are A LOT closer together than they are in the mock-up, and some are obviously closer in pairs. Gracias, non-justified text of the typewriter. So it's already looking different by hand, and I don't mind one bit. We'll see when it's done though, and I need a second opinion!

  11. Christ you know me incredibly well Melissa. I tried to follow most of this conversation. Also, thanks for the addition of links to some of the shit you were talking about. I do like the new one best, but I couldn't tell you why in any sort of great terms. Can we go see this show so I know/have any sort of clue what the hell you're talking about? Or are we boycotting? I'm so confused sometimes I have no idea where my allegiances lie anymore.

  12. Tom, your allegiances ALWAYS lie with Torres. haha and give me time to print up a t-shirt. no way i'm going to see the show sans this.

  13. let me know when you go!you should have seen me in that show. i kept reading the wall text. and wandering in circles. and re reading the wall text. and getting mad at the woman who thought the whole room was supposed to be full of candy and her annoying children. and then texting. and then copying the wall text into my texting. and then eating candy. and then walking into the next room. and then walking back for some more circles. and then wondering what the security guard thought of me.

  14. I really wish I could have seen this. That security guard probably has experience with a lot of 'weirdos' working in the modern wing.I'll let you know when I can go. Hopefully soon. I will also make sure you get one of these. 🙂

  15. Hey, you seriously think that the Institute would omit to mention FGT's lover because FGT's lover happens to be a man?Also, I have to point out, FGT had a penchant, rather than a pension, for making t-shirts (sorry, my pedantry got the better of me there).Loving the work.

  16. Trevor,One, don't ever apologize for correcting a person's grammar. Ever. I'm actually a little mortified that I hadn't noticed I did that until now.Two, I don't know what exactly to think about the omission of Ross's name. I am not one of those who operates under the belief that your queerness defines your being by any means, so I don't think it's necessary to label Torres as a "queer artist" and be able to move on from there so quickly, but Torres would openly admit that what he did in his art, he did for Ross, and his struggles with Ross's death, the government's reaction to AIDS, etcetera DID define his art. I feel that the act of omission, whether it be rooted in conservative homophobia or something else entirely, (and I'm not saying I know what it is rooted in) is something to cause alarm to those who love Torres and his work, and should even cause alarm with those who don't. And thank you very much. If you want a print, just message an address and I'll send it out when I make them.

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