Charles Ray, ‘All My Clothes’, 1973, Phillips

From the Catalogue:
In the present lot, Charles Ray presents a series of documentary Polaroid photographs starring himself as the subject, modeling the various outfits in his wardrobe. Aptly titled All My Clothes, this work challenges the traditional notion of the self-portrait. Despite being the centerpiece of each image, his own self is largely indiscernible, making the subject more so Ray’s attire than the artist himself. Each image is taken from a straight-on angle, his planted feet meeting the exact point of the horizon line where the white wall and gray floor intersect. From this vantage point, we are unable to decipher Ray’s facial expressions, making the only differentiating factor from one image to the next the outfit he’s fashioning. The Los Angeles-based sculptor and conceptual artist has explored the subject of clothing in many of his sculptural and media projects, including a later film entitled Fashions from 1996, featuring Ray’s friend and fellow artist Frances Stark modeling 100 different outfits. This focus on material objects is present throughout Ray’s oeuvre, demonstrating the artist’s interest in redefining the readymade concept in the postmodern era. In the present lot, his contemporary interpretation of the readymade involves not only everyday objects, but also the carrier of these objects: his own body. By stripping himself of any identity, the artist showcases his preoccupation with the effect of material objects on humans, presenting Ray as a victim to his own wardrobe in images which, in turn end up looking more like mug shots than fine art portraits. Through this aesthetic decision, Ray makes the overarching statement that we are all victims of a materialist culture, driven by consumerist desires and a lack of individuality.
Courtesy of Phillips

Malmö, Rooseum-Center for Contemporary Art; London, Institute of Contemporary Art; Kunsthalle Bern and Kunsthalle Zurich, Charles Ray, March - October 1994 (another example exhibited and illustrated)
London, Saatchi Gallery, Young Americans: New American Art in the Saatchi Collection, January - May 1996, pp. 94-95 (another example exhibited and illustrated)
New York, Whitney Museum of American Art; Los Angeles, Museum of Contemporary Art; Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art, Charles Ray, June 1998 - September 1999, p. 70 (another example exhibited and illustrated)
Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Washington D.C., Corcoran Gallery of Art; Boston, Museum of Fine Arts, Jasper Johns to Jeff Koons: Four Decades of Art from the Broad Collection, October 2001 - October 2002, pp. 200-201 (another example exhibited and illustrated)
New York, Whitney Museum of American Art, Evidence of Impact: Art and Photography 1963-1978, July - October 2004 (another example exhibited)
Minneapolis, Walker Art Center, The Last Picture Show Using Photography, 1960-1982, October 12, 2003 - January 11, 2004

Klaus Kertess, Photography Transformed: the Metropolitan Bank and Trust Collection, New York, 2002, p. 173 ( illustrated)
Mary Abbe, “The F-Stops Here,” Star Tribune, October 10, 2003
Bernard Cooper, “Too Much Info,” Los Angeles Times, April 2004
Christopher Knight, “Photo synthesis,” Los Angeles Times, March 7, 2004
David Deitcher, “The Last Picture Show,” Artforum, February 2004

Donald Young Gallery, Seattle
Paul Morris Gallery, New York
Regen Projects, Los Angeles
Acquired from the above by the present owner in December 1998

About Charles Ray

Best known for his sculptures of almost imperceptibly altered, or wildly exaggerated, familiar objects, Charles Ray creates mesmerizing, disorienting works that challenge perception. With Firetruck (1993), for example, Ray enlarged a toy Tonka truck to the proportions of an actual fire truck and “parked” it in front of the Whitney Museum in New York. From afar, Firetruck looked real. It was only upon approach that viewers saw that it was not. Ray’s Ink Line (1987), an example of his exquisitely subtle work, consists of a stream of black ink running from a dime-sized hole in the ceiling to a dime-sized hole in the floor. Upon close inspection, viewers realize that what looks like a piece of string is actually a continuous flow of liquid.

American, b. 1953, Chicago, Illinois

Group Shows

The FLAG Art Foundation, 
New York, USA,
Cynthia Daignault: There is Nothing I could Say That I Haven't Thought Before
11 Duke Street, 
London, United Kingdom,
Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons, Charles Ray