Apollo
Art Diary

Charles Ray: Figure Ground

27 January 2022

The American sculptor Charles Ray is perhaps best known for provocative, hyperreal sculptures such as Boy with Frog (2008), which notoriously was removed after it was installed in Venice in 2013. But over the course of a five-decade career the artist has worked in many genres and mediums, from classicism to minimalism and from fibreglass to steel, as this retrospective at the Met in New York (31 January–5 June) makes plain. The display spans Ray’s early photographs from the 1970s and recent sculptures, two of which have not been displayed together; it also brings together, for the first time, the series of sculptures Ray has based on Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Find out more from the Met’s website.

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Untitled (1973; printed 1989), Charles Ray.

Untitled (1973; printed 1989), Charles Ray. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery; © Charles Ray

Sarah Williams (2021), Charles Ray.

Sarah Williams (2021), Charles Ray. Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery; © Charles Ray

Chicken (2007), Charles Ray.

Chicken (2007), Charles Ray. Glenstone Museum, Potomac. Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery; © Charles Ray

A copy of ten marble fragments of the Great Eleusinian Relief

A copy of ten marble fragments of the Great Eleusinian Relief (2017), Charles Ray. Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery; © Charles Ray

Boy with Frog (2009), Charles Ray.

Boy with Frog (2009), Charles Ray. Philadelphia Museum of Art. Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery; © Charles Ray