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Charles Ray American

Not on view

In the early 1990s Ray created his "sculptures of mannequins." A mass-produced object designed to stoke consumerism, the mannequin is a representation of an idealized human being that simultaneously reflects and codifies dominant standards of race, gender, sexuality, and beauty. Boy is patterned on a store mannequin, complete with its base. The figure has the features, proportions, and clothing of a prepubescent White male but the height of an adult man (Ray specifically), creating an uncanny gap between size and appearance. Equally disconcerting are the figure’s anachronistic clothes, vacant eyes, and simpering smile, which deprive Boy of the innocence American society traditionally associates with both childhood and Whiteness.

Boy, Charles Ray (American, born Chicago, Illinois, 1953), Painted fiberglass, steel, fabric and glass

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photograph by Reto Pedrini