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Charles Ray


Not on view



Painted fiberglass, steel, fabric and glass

Overall: 71 1/2 × 39 1/4 × 20 1/2in. (181.6 × 99.7 × 52.1 cm)

Accession number

Edition of 3

Credit line
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase, with funds from Jeffrey Deitch, Bernardo Nadal-Ginard, and Penny and Mike Winton

Rights and reproductions
© artist or artist’s estate

With his sculpture Boy, Charles Ray transforms a recognizable, familiar subject—a clothed department store mannequin—into an unsettling figure. As in several of his key works, Ray manipulates scale to uncanny ends and uses illusionistic, provocative means to disrupt our customary experiences with ordinary objects. His “boy” stands as tall as a full-grown man (he is in fact the artist’s height), and the figure’s pose is possessed of an adult quality that more readily suggests the stance of a Roman orator than the informal manner of a child. Ray conjures the innocence of youth in the boy’s knee socks, short pants, and porcelain features, yet his realignment of scale and gesture renders that innocence puzzling, even threatening. With his pointing finger, the boy appears confrontational and accusatory, while his fusion of prepubescent and adult features treads close to the taboo territory of childhood sexuality.

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