Join us for a conversation with artist Charles Ray and Rail Editor-at-Large Toby Kamps. We’ll conclude with a poetry reading from Robert Fitterman.
Widely regarded as one of the most significant artists of his generation, Charles Ray is best known for his sculptures of altered and refashioned familiar objects. In 1993 Ray made Firetruck, a 12-by-47-foot replica of a toy fire truck, which he “parked” in front of the Whitney Museum of American Art during that year’s biennial exhibition. In 2007 the artist completed a ten-year project—a re-creation in Japanese cypress (Hinoki) of a fallen and rotting tree he had found in a meadow, hand carved by Japanese master woodworkers. In 2009 Ray installed Boy with Frog, his first outdoor commissioned work, at the Punta della Dogana in Venice. Grand in size and realized with a smooth white finish that references the important tradition of marble sculpture in Italy, it depicts a boy holding a goliath frog above the Grand Canal. In 2015 the artist completed Horse and Rider, a ten-ton equestrian statue machined from solid stainless steel, with Ray himself as the rider.
Ray (b. 1953) has exhibited at Documenta IX (1992), Venice Biennales in 1993, 2003, and 2013 and five Whitney Biennials, and he has had one-person museum exhibitions in Basel, Chicago, London, Los Angeles, Milan, Bern, Vienna, and Oslo, among other cities. Ray lives and works in Los Angeles.
The Rail has a tradition of ending our conversations with a poem, and we’re fortunate to have Robert Fitterman reading.