Charles Ray’s Baled Truck

The full scale shape of a crushed and baled pickup truck (but not the truck itself) carved and etched from a twenty-eight-thousand pound block of stainless steel so that it would appear that there might be air in there but really it’s metal all the way down. Rain on Chelsea—rain in general across the eastern seaboard. And such a rain too that even though you’ll be late you’d not wish to leave the refuge of the gallery, empty of all but the truck and the docent who pays as little attention to you as if you were some species of flora that were native to art galleries. Dark, thunderous rain over the car hoods and the street, figures flashing by, running in a panic. But in the quiet gallery the oblong block of crushed truck, coffin-like in solemnity (as if something had died) but shiny as a new dime, makes the long bright room more religious than art-world, and lends the truck’s idea a holy and mysterious will that crosses out your own. You’ll not have so much a profound experience of art, but rather a profound experience of your own weird happenstance. It’s as if you’re the one that’s been cast.

 


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