Human bone & a hole (Charles LeDray at the Whitney)

I had the pleasure of making it to the Whitney Museum on Friday, the final weekend of the Charles LeDray exhibit “WORKWORKWORKWORKWORK”.  It was pretty incredible how deeply I could be involved in these pieces, mini-installations on small, detailed clothes and thousands of miniature vases…  As the prologue to the exhibit read: “Simply said, everything is the scale it needs to be.”

Although its hard to relate the entire experience of seeing the exhibit, there were a couple of pieces in particular that were moving to me.  First, “Hole”.  A miniature shirt, tie, suit jacket, hanging on a wooden hanger.  But with a hole cut through the chest of the whole ensemble.  There was something so eerily absent from the chest of this small figure, but also so focusing: what was it that you could see when you peered into the heart (or, the space where that heart would be) in this small space?

(For a sense of the scale, an image of the piece at right and the image of a person viewing another piece in the exhibit– “Men’s Suits”– that includes jackets of the same size/scale.)

The other piece that I could not seem to walk away from was “Dispatch (#1), 1992”.  At first glance the stack of doll house scale chairs, dressers, tables, outhouse door, etc. are almost whimsical.  But it seemed that there was something more.  As I examined more the small tower more closely I saw that each piece in the mountain was quite elegant and that they were so delicately balanced — they had a collective fragile quality to them.  Then I read the placard and the materials list gave me a new perspective: “Human bone and paper”.   Something was altogether new in the piece.  I then stood near the piece for quite some time.  At first I was marveling at the beauty and the meaning, then I was sticking around just to see other patron reactions to the placard.   They did as I did.  As soon as they read the placard they were compelled to look again, with a new perspective.

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