charles ray's greatest works are united and on view at the MET next week

charles ray's greatest works are united and on view at the MET next week

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charles ray: figure ground

 

this upcoming monday, new york’s metropolitan museum of art (MET) will open charles ray: figure ground, an exhibition collecting some of the artist’s most well-known works. one of the most important artists of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, charles ray has experimented with a range of mediums for over five decades. his works include performance, photography, and sculpture, which he is most known for today. 

 

charles ray: figure ground will show at the MET from january 31st until june 5th, 2022.

charles ray methuck and jim, charles ray, 2014 | all images © designboom

 

 

five decades of sculpture at the met

 

the work of charles ray (see more here) is known for its material diversity, a quality that is highlighted throughout the MET’s comprehensive exhibition (see more here). over the course of his experimental career, charles ray has made use of a wide variety of materials, broadened the understanding of sculptural language — ray’s work is also currently showing in paris, the exhibition titled what is a sculpture? (see designboom’s coverage here).

 

charles ray has even pioneered major advances in the production of sculpture — the artist has combined the analog and the digital as well as human and robotic hands. additionally, ray’s work addresses in elliptical, often irreverent ways not only art history, popular culture, and mass media but also identity, mortality, race, and gender.

charles ray met
a copy of ten marble fragments of the great eleusinian relief, charles ray, 2017 (left)
sarah williams, charles ray, 2021 (center) | reclining woman, charles ray, 2018 (right)

 

 

the MET’s exhibition charles ray: figure ground unites sculptures from each period of the artist’s career with key photographs from the 1970s and 1980s. the show explores central aspects of his challenging and sometimes provocative body of work. for the first time, the totality of ray’s works that reference mark twain’s 1885 novel adventures of huckleberry finn are shown together.

 

it is fitting that the collection is shown at the metropolitan museum of art, as the artist is said to have closely studied its collection for many years. charles ray: figure ground features a suite of carefully placed works whose arrangement in space forges subtle connections between objects and viewers. the museum notes that similar to a scholar’s stone, which is meant to facilitate and prolong thoughtful contemplation, ray’s sculpture poses many trenchant questions but answers none directly.

charles ray met
family romance, charles ray, 1993 (left) | sarah williams, charles ray, 2021 (right)

charles ray met
boy with frog, charles ray, 2009
charles ray's greatest works are united and on view at the MET next week
reclining woman, charles ray, 2018

charles-ray-metropolitan-museum-art-new-york-designboom-06a

reclining woman, charles ray, 2018

charles ray's greatest works are united and on view at the MET next week
mime, charles ray, 2014

charles ray's greatest works are united and on view at the MET next week

boy with frog, charles ray, 2009

 

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sarah williams, charles ray, 2021
sarah williams, charles ray, 2021
reclining woman, charles ray, 2018
reclining woman, charles ray, 2018
reclining woman, charles ray, 2018
reclining woman, charles ray, 2018
archangel, charles ray, 2021
archangel, charles ray, 2021
plank piece I and II, charles ray, 1973
plank piece I and II, charles ray, 1973

project info:

 

artist: charles ray

location: the metropolitan museum of art, new york, NY

duration: january 31st, 2022 — june 5th, 2022

photography: © designboom

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