Charles LeDray at the Whitneyhttp://www.thirteen.org/sundayarts/blog/museums/ledray%E2%80%94pushing-craft-into-art/971/
Charles LeDray’s work straddles the line between art and craft, making a certain case for the latter that sometimes subsumes the former. He creates miniature pieces of clothing that can be freighted with meaning, magnified when grouped or assembled in a larger context, or abstracted in more formal exercises. He makes inch-high pots and vases and arrays them by the hundreds (thousands?) on shelved or long vitrines, the collections grouped by color: white, polychrome, matte black. And LeDray carves bone, human and otherwise, into delicate pale sculptures that belie the steely strength of their source material.
The Whitney is showcasing LeDray’s output with a mid-career look, workworkwork… (originally shown at Boston’s ICA, whose Randi Hopkins curated it), that occupies an entire floor through Feb 13. A good portion — or what feels like a good portion — of the exhibition has been shown in recent years at New York galleries, underlining one of the problems with museum exhibitions of contemporary artists. The oeuvre feels spread slightly thin, and his obsessiveness with particular genres becomes clear as you encounter repeating iterations. But the installation MENS SUITSoccupies a large gallery and elevates LeDray’s meticulous sewing and technical skills and a tendency toward cutesiness. Three installation groupings, collectively depicting different parts of a thrift shop, sit below dropped circular ceilings/light fixtures while the rest of the gallery is dark, focusing the eye and adding a threatrical context that allows his clothing pieces to transcend craft.
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