Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Think Small at The Whitney & Dinner Party, No Cooking!

Charles LeDray   Mini - Sculpture at The Whitney

by Charles LeDray

One day last month I walked into the Whitney Museum on Madison Ave. in NYC, without knowing what I was going to see.  I stepped off the elevator into the giant foyer of a gallery and in front of me was a line of miniature hats hung uncomfortably high on the wall. Forty-five minutes later I left the "whole floor" exhibition with my jaw on the floor. I was flabbergasted and exhausted by the amount of work that went into the "work" of New York artist Charles LeDray. 

Originally from the Seattle area, the fifty-year-old artist makes small objects, mostly clothes. He constructs everything completely by himself including all of the accessories which accompany the clothes, like the hanging rack, the clothes hangers, the wall hooks, work bench, tools, etc. all perfectly recreated. Many pieces are constructions made up of multiple pieces of clothing, looking to make a statement. The artist himself is reclusive and explains nothing about his art. 

Charles LeDray learned to sew at age four and the foundation of his art all started when he wanted an antique stuffed bear and just made a miniature replica for himself. So impressive are his constructions, that his break in the art world came while he worked as an art handler for a gallery, he simply showed a curator one of his pieces and she immediately put that piece in a group show and his career took off.

At the Whitney Bookstore
There are literally thousands of objects in this Whitney exhibition. LeDray throws ceramic pots the size of a baby's little finger tip. He creates complete military uniforms, including the shiny hat brims, metals, buttons and belts for Lilliputian soldiers. Mixed into these pieces are not so subtle statements regarding gender and purpose of life, all conveyed by the clothes people wear. Another direction of his work are delicate objects carved out of bone, like a shaft of wheat!

It speaks volumes that what many consider a "craft" like "sewing", essentially doll's clothes, brought the very picky curators of the Whitney to mount this major exhibition. There is substance and commentary in every one of his handmade "fabric sculptures" and to fill a whole floor of this museum with so much art production of miniature objects is beyond impressive. The title of the show “workworkworkworkwork” is appropriate. In a time when many of the most important contemporary artists are acting only as conceptual directors with their studios doing the actual painting and sculpting work for them, it is refreshing to see so much precise and difficult art being done by one set of hands, especially since the essence of this work is conceptual. 

Most people are impressed by this show but if you are the type of person who is fascinated by words being written on a grain of rice, this show is a must see for you!  When you think about it art is often about scale, either extremely large or extremely small.
“Charles LeDray: workworkworkworkwork” is on exhibition until Feb. 13 at the Whitney Museum of American Art, 945 Madison Avenue, @ 75th Street; (212) 570-3600, 


Joy to the World!
Enjoy High Brow Classical Christmas Music this Christmas Season Anywhere in the World!

New York' s WQXR is streaming uninterrupted classical Christmas music just for you. Go to click on Pop-out audio player then click on Special in the Upper right corner of the blue box and you will arrive at WQXR's Holiday Channel -  a 24-hour stream dedicated to classical Christmas favorites. You can have this playing in the background of your computer while you work, keeping your spirits bright.

While researching this story, I heard an interesting little advert before the music started on WQXR, which showcased Julliard's adult music classes. I didn't realize adults could study music at Julliard (Julliard Evening Division). It is never too late to follow your passion! 
Julliard, as you probably know, is considered one of the best music conservatory educations for classical music in the world.  For undergraduate and masters degree students, it is one of the most selective and sought after schools for musical instruction.

for an impromptu holiday gathering.

Last night a group came to our home for a dinner / meeting. Hum, how to basically throw a small dinner party at the last minute?

Solution: a quick trip to the grocery to create a salad bar at home. To set up, get a large bowl, combine a box of spring mix salad with a box of baby arugula salad, toss and put to the side with serving tongs. Next place a stack of plates and around the edge of those plates put spoons in small bowls filled with shredded cheese, yellow cherry tomatoes, croutons, dried cranberries, ringlets of red onion, diced mushrooms, sunflower seeds and some cubed precooked chicken breasts strips. Dress up a bottled, but too thick, Asian salad dressing with some Japanese rice vinegar, olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar, mix well in a gravy boat. Buy a quality fruit tart for dessert, open a bottle of wine and you are done. People love personalizing this nutty, crunchy salad (it IS tasty) and you have a dinner party in less than 30 minutes, no cooking! Happy Holidays!

A few extra gift ideas:

Pollock No. 10 Tie
Item: 45230 Price: $48.00

Number 10, 1949
Former Title: Number 10, 1949
Jackson Pollock, American, 1912–1956
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Revere Silver Plated Coffee and Tea Set

After a hiatus in his silversmithing business during the Revolution, Paul Revere returned to his craft about 1780. Soon his shop began producing silver in the newest taste, using the latest technology. For example, the fluted teapot on which this tea set is based, is probably derived from similar English works in silver, fused plate (also called Sheffield plate), or ceramic wares, and it is made of rolled sheet silver. Bending sheets of thin silver, produced in rolling mills, into a desired form and soldering them together took less time and effort than the traditional, more laborious method of raising a vessel from an ingot with repeated hammer blows. Here, Revere decorated the teapot with dotted and bright-cut bands over tasseled festoons at top and bottom, all in the Neoclassical style. 
Museum of Fine Arts Boston.


Until Later, 

© ARTS&FOOD,( All rights reserved, © Copyright Jack A. Atkinson  2010 Under All International, Digital, Intellectual Property and Copyright Laws. Images © Copyright individual Creators, Lenders or Fabricators.

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