During our recent city weekend, we spent an afternoon at the Whitney, a museum I rarely visit for some reason, maybe some bad experiences with previous Biennials. We had the luxury of a few hours (the kids off at the much more appealing Transit Museum) to wander through the entire museum.
There was a great Hopper show, which incorporated his work with members of the Ashcan School in a look at how painters at the time were representing the shift from rural to urban life. I tend to be sentimental about Old New York, imagining it as fantastically lively and creative, which it was, but what I tend to leave out are the inequities and the loneliness that accompanied every decade. Hopper’s pieces, as well as those of his contemporaries, reminded me.
Another show, the sort which I might not normally visit and was completely blown away by was Charles LeDray’s WorkWorkWorkWorkWork. LeDray, who must be the sort of obsessive, meticulous artist I wish I could be, makes miniatures of clothing, pottery and other objects. The clothing, including replicas of military uniforms, catcher’s uniform and hundreds of everyday outfits, are beautifully sewn, with tiny buttons and, in some cases, miniature patches. There’s a string of flip flops and and tiny books and magazines. Each is a few inches long. The buttons he fashions out of human bone.
Several display cases are filled with hundreds of miniaturized (an inch or so high) pots, some painted with tiny patterns. It’s another example of what might sound like a bizarre idea (you’re going to make what?) beautifully executed and strangely inspiring.