Male in America

Charles LeDray’s mixed-media opus Men’s Suits is the type of installation that leaves viewers dumfounded and begging for more. From the dust-covered drop ceiling with harsh fluorescent lights to the grimy linoleum floor covered with racks and bins of Lilliputian clothing, the scene resembles a Detroit down-at-the-heels thrift store rather than an artwork at a South Beach museum. The iconic installation, which took the self-taught artist three years to painstakingly craft, is on view as part of “Charles LeDray: Bass Museum of Art,” an exhibit that also marks the New York-based talent’s South Florida debut. At a time when many contemporary artists employ technology to produce work, LeDray is known for his commitment to creating everything by hand. He is also recognized for his unusual use of materials ranging from fabric to human bone. His collection of impeccably sewn and exquisitely fashioned garments — including jackets, trousers, shirts, and ties — and even the hangers on which they are displayed, radiate remarkable skill. When you bend at the waist to examine them, you can’t help but feel mesmerized by the artist’s consummate attention to detail. Featuring only four works, designed to engage museum visitors in a profounder dialogue with the artist’s haunting oeuvre, LeDray’s micro-offering at the Bass (2100 Collins Ave., Miami Beach) speaks in a full-size way to the fading fabric of the American Dream.
Wednesdays-Sundays, 12-5 p.m. Starts: May 2. Continues through Aug. 12, 2012
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Carlos Suarez De Jesus