In collaboration with the Art Institute of Chicago, the Kunstmuseum Basel will hold a major exhibition of the work of the American artist Charles Ray (b. Chicago, 1953, lives in Los Angeles). Rather than offering a full-blown retrospective, the show focuses on works Ray has created between 1997 and 2014. It is on display at the Kunstmuseum as well as the Museum für Gegenwartskunst.
Charles Ray is regarded as one of the preeminent sculptors working today. Like Jeff Koons and Katharina Fritsch, he charts a new language of sculptural figuration, as exemplified by Boy with Frog, 2009, a steel sculpture painted white. Until recently, it drew a lot of attention in Venice, where it was installed at the Punta della Dogana. The oversized naked boy is handling his counterpart from the animal kingdom with a vitality bordering on the brutal; the sculpture is true to life and yet stylized. The almost classicistic poise and the stupendous quality of the sculpture’s execution—a heavyweight, it looks light and graceful—lends it a certain timelessness; looking at it, many people would not evenrecognize it as contemporary art.