Jack Bankowsky, a former editor of Artforum who organized the event, said: “When you approach the more volatile social topic, I often think that it begins as a provocation or an experiment by bad boy, that was an incentive for him to start thinking. a popular 2014 exhibition by Ray, Koons and Katharina Fritsch. “That wasp-hive aspect is certainly part of his personality, but he has carved it into it, and the complexity we associate with his work is what emerges in it. the other end.”
In “Huck and Jim”, both characters’ flesh is transformed into stainless steel. Jim stood up straight. Huck arched at his waist, his hand cupped as if he were reaching into a river. It’s clear that their nudity has spooked Whitney, but the real oddity of the sculpture is Jim’s right hand, gently grazing Huck’s lower back. In the space between is a mess of lust and sadness.
“‘Huck and Jim’ has profound meaning as a monument,” says Walker, who is now organizing an exhibition of decommissioned Confederate monuments for LAXART. “This is like ur-Americana. It is not soldiers in cloth clothes, or men who embody virtue, but somehow they express a national identity, a national identity. We have this conception of how a monument should function. And then Charles Ray really gives us something to reflect on, and it’s like, No no no! Get dressed again!”
“There was an anomaly in that, which I got from Smith and Caro,” Ray said of the unmatched nudity. A similar charge split recurs in “Sarah Williams,” in which the positions are reversed: Huck is dressed in cross-dresses standing upright, while Jim is crouching behind, an arrangement of black patterns. and white makes it feel even more politically tense.
But look closely at Jim’s right hand. Notice the delicately sculpted fish hook in the palm of his half-clenched hand—the hook Jim uses in Twain’s novel to fashion Huck’s dress. Theirs is an emotional, historical and racial fusion in which parts and the whole cannot be subdued. They are tied together, because “Sarah Williams” is attached to our space.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/26/arts/design/charles-ray-figure-ground-met-museum.html Charles Ray is pushing sculpture to its limits