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In this video blog (or, “vlog”), artist and Whitney educator Christine S. Kim and Whitney educator Andrew Fisher discuss artist Charles LeDray’s miniature works and artistic process, focusing on selected works in the exhibition Charles LeDray: workworkworkworkwork.
Charles LeDray: WORKWORKWORKWORKWORK
CK- Hi. This exhibition is called “workworkworkworkwork” by American artist Charles LeDray. This exhibition contains work from the 1980’s to the present. When he was just four, LeDray’s mother taught him how to sew. Over the years he has taken classes in different crafts such as sewing, painting, ceramics. LeDray feels that his labor-intensive process of making work actually strengthens his desire to create and explore these ideas.
With today’s advancements in technology, it’s so easy to go online, search for an item, and order it. A mass-produced object arrives, seemingly untouched by human hands. LeDray is focused on his craft. He creates his work by hand, working laboriously to cut, sew, and produce his pieces.
LeDray gets a kick out of playing with the idea that an individual object corresponds to a memory. By bringing together many small objects with their own respective memories, a larger work of art is created, forming one extensive piece.
AF- LeDray is famous for his frequent use of clothes, which can be perceived as a manifestation of history and identity. Clothing often reveals some kind of status but LeDray puts a new spin on it. He makes his clothes really small in scale—miniature. By making them so small, he makes us look at them differently, looking closer at everyday things.
AF- It’s interesting, I noticed this piece from across the room. It’s relatively small compared to the other works in this room. I guess it shows that size doesn’t matter.
CK- Yes, it’s interesting that you mention the size— So many of the pieces are miniature, and yet this one here is accurate to scale. It’s what a cat generally looks like. One thing I observed is that the cat is continually cleaning itself, and that it has no claws. It helps me to recognize that this isn’t a real cat, because it looks almost real.
AF- Interesting, because it seems to be stuck in the act of cleaning itself, continuing to work, work, work, work…
CK- It’s best if we give it some privacy, let’s go.
AF- This exhibition is entitled “work work work w o r k – w o r k — w o r k workworkwork, WORK WORK WORK, w-o-r-k w-o-r-k…” The title shows how much work goes into these projects. There is a great amount of work involved in the installation, and maintaining a schedule of endlessly producing these objects. This labor shows humanity’s drive and desire to survive…The need to survive drives our never-ending work.
CK- I’m Christine Kim, CK for short, museum educator and artist.
AF- I’m Andrew Fisher, museum educator.
AF+CK- Thank you for watching.