Met acquires Charles Ray ‘Horses’ sculptural relief

Charles Ray ‘Horses’

Charles Ray (American, born 1953). ‘Two Horses,’ 2019, granite, 10ft 3/8in × 14ft 10¼in. × 8½in. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Purchase, Lila Acheson Wallace Gift, Gift of Continental Group, by exchange, and Bequest of Gioconda King, by exchange, 2019 © Charles Ray, Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery. Image credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Photo by Pari Stave

NEW YORK – The Met announced Thursday the acquisition of the monumental sculptural relief Two Horses (2019) by American artist Charles Ray (b. 1953). Two Horses is now on view at The Met in gallery 918 of the Lila Acheson Wallace Wing.

The 10-by-14-foot granite relief by the acclaimed artist portrays two horses in profile, one fully articulated and a second figure behind it that is partially seen, evoking a ghost-like presence. The Met also announced that it will present an exhibition of the artist’s work in late 2021.

“Charles Ray’s practice fuses his deep knowledge of the history of sculpture making with a vivid and dynamic creative force that is all his own,” said Max Hollein, director of The Met. “Two Horses effectively telescopes thousands of years of archaic and classical relief sculpture into an extraordinarily powerful contemporary work, an especially meaningful combination when presented in the midst of the Museum’s encyclopedic collection. This majestic carving in granite will be both a mystery and a revelation for our visitors today and for generations to come. We are also looking forward to working with Charley on what will certainly be an extraordinary exhibition of his outstanding sculptures, presented within The Met’s collection.”

Charles Ray was born in Chicago in 1953 and currently lives and works in Los Angeles. Considered one of the most important artists of his generation, Ray is best known for his enigmatic figurative sculptures and reliefs. The artist’s works were featured in The Met Breuer exhibition “Like Life: Sculpture, Color, and the Body (1300–Now)” (2018). He has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions, most recently “Charles Ray: four patterns,” Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid (2019); “Three Christs, Sleeping Mime, and the Last Supper, Pagan Paradise,” Hill Art Foundation, New York (2019); “Sculpture: 1997–2014,” Kunstmuseum Basel and the Art Institute of Chicago (2014).