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Viola Frey

Me Man

On view
Floor 6



Glazed ceramic

Overall: 99 × 29 3/4 × 25in. (251.5 × 75.6 × 63.5 cm)

Accession number

Credit line
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; gift of William S. Bartman

Rights and reproductions
© Artists' Legacy Foundation / Licensed by VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Standing at over eight-feet tall, Viola Frey’s Me Man is fashioned in clay on a scale almost unprecedented for the medium. To make such a large-scale work, Frey first built the clay figure and allowed it to dry. Once hardened, she sawed it apart to produce sections that would fit in the kiln. After each piece had been glazed and fired separately, Frey reassembled and painted the whole sculpture. Her process remains legible in the material itself, with horizontal seams especially visible across Me Man’s torso. As was common for Frey’s sculptures of men, this one wears a blue suit and gesticulates, as though in the middle of conversation. A representation of the American businessman, Me Man likewise recalls television characters from the 1950s, and evidences Frey’s interest in the satiric depiction of the totems of everyday life: in this case, middle-class respectability.



A 30-second online art project:
LaTurbo Avedon, Morning Mirror / Evening Mirror

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