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Boy with frog

Charles Ray American

Not on view

This composition is a precise arrangement of forms: a nude young boy, with back arched and tummy thrust forward, tilts his head and gazes blithely at a frog dangling precariously, even cruelly, from his outstretched arm. The sculpture was commissioned by François Pinault for the exterior of the Punta della Dogana, a bustling civic space along the Grand Canal in Venice. The work’s riverine associations persist beyond its original location, loosely recalling the tales of Huckleberry Finn that unfold along the shoreline of the Mississippi. With its stance suggesting both outward inquiry and self-absorption, Boy with frog also reflects Ray’s sculptural engagement with the formative conditions of boyhood, in which a sense of the world may be grasped through curious and sometimes callous play.

Boy with frog, Charles Ray (American, born Chicago, Illinois, 1953), Painted stainless steel

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Illustration credit: Pinault Collection; photograph by Charles Ray Studio