Charles Ray, Mountain Lion Attacking a Dog

American Classics

Charles Ray, Mountain Lion Attacking a Dog

Charles Ray, Mountain Lion Attacking a Dog

In the second of two public lectures, Charles Ray continues his discussion of his work. Immediately following the lecture, the opening of the exhibition, Charles Ray, Mountain Lion Attacking a Dog, will take place in the AAR Gallery.

In the spirit of Mark Twain’s The Innocents Abroad (1869), in which America’s mythologies about itself are brought into relief in a direct encounter with Europe, the American Academy in Rome has invited Ray to develop a new work exploring the theme of “American Classics.” This work will have its debut as part of a two-day program featuring Ray, one of the most celebrated contemporary artists working in the United States, interrogating the enduring currency in the contemporary world of cultural practices inherited from antiquity.

In Mountain Lion Attacking a Dog, Ray plays with the conventions that have defined the canons of classical sculpture. In this case, he revisits the famous Hellenistic sculptural group Lion Attacking a Horse (Greek, 325–300 BC; restored in Rome in 1594) from the Capitoline Museums, converting the naturalistic scene of primal violence, among the most storied works of art to survive from antiquity, into a typically American vernacular. In Ray’s hands, the animal group in the Capitoline, an icon of Rome much admired by Michelangelo Buonarroti, is transposed to an American wilderness increasingly encroached upon and compromised by urban sprawl. For many years, Ray has hiked in the Santa Monica Mountains, a coastal range in Southern California bound by major traffic arteries and some of the most densely settled areas of the United States. The mountains host a variety of wildlife, including a dwindling population of Mountain lions, a vestige of the storied American frontier, struggling to survive in a habitat too isolated and too small to sustain it.

Ray is the Deenie Yudell Artist in Residence at the American Academy in Rome in the spring of 2017.

In two public lectures preceding the opening of the exhibition, Ray will discuss his approach to sculpture exploring American myths informed by his close looking at the art of the past. The lectures will be held in English.

May 17, 2017

6:00pm – Lecture by Charles Ray
Contemporary Sculpture from the Past
Villa Aurelia, Porta San Pancrazio, 1

May 18, 2017

6:00pm – Lecture by Charles Ray
The Work of Charles Ray
AAR Lecture Room

6:30–9:00pm – Exhibition opening
Charles Ray, Mountain Lion Attacking a Dog
AAR Gallery

The exhibition is curated by Peter Benson Miller, Andrew Heiskell Arts Director at the American Academy in Rome.

Exhibition opening hours: Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 4:00 to 7:00pm until July 2, 2017.

This event is part of the series New Work in the Arts & Humanities: American Classics. The lectures and exhibition are made possible by the Syde Hurdus Foundation.

Giorno e ora
giovedì maggio 18–domenica luglio 2, 2017
AAR Lecture Room and Gallery
McKim, Mead & White Building
Via Angelo Masina, 5
Rome, Italia