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Charles Ray

by Michael Fried

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Ever since the early 1970s, sculptor Charles Ray's protean practice has yielded some of the most memorable objects and experiences in contemporary art, causing us to confront, as Peter Schjeldahl has written, "elegant, deadpan fabrications that flip wild switches in our minds." In 1987's "Ink Line," for example, he sent a single stream of ink flowing to the middle of a gallery's floor in a slender column; outside the 1993 Whitney Biennial he parked a massive replica of a toy fire engine. His recent work is just as alluring and unsettling: a steel sculpture of a handheld bird, a poster of an ominous pumpkin, an intricate cast aluminum sculpture of a tractor. Charles Ray surveys the work the artist has made in the past dozen years; an interview by Michael Fried and an essay by John Kelsey complement texts written about each work by Ray himself.… (more)
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Ever since the early 1970s, sculptor Charles Ray's protean practice has yielded some of the most memorable objects and experiences in contemporary art, causing us to confront, as Peter Schjeldahl has written, "elegant, deadpan fabrications that flip wild switches in our minds." In 1987's "Ink Line," for example, he sent a single stream of ink flowing to the middle of a gallery's floor in a slender column; outside the 1993 Whitney Biennial he parked a massive replica of a toy fire engine. His recent work is just as alluring and unsettling: a steel sculpture of a handheld bird, a poster of an ominous pumpkin, an intricate cast aluminum sculpture of a tractor. Charles Ray surveys the work the artist has made in the past dozen years; an interview by Michael Fried and an essay by John Kelsey complement texts written about each work by Ray himself.

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