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Charles LeDray

Milk and Honey

1994-96

Artist

Charles LeDray (1960-)

Title

Milk and Honey

Date

1994-96

Medium

2000 porcelain objects, glass, and wood

Dimensions

Overall: 77 × 30 × 30 in. (195.6 × 76.2 × 76.2 cm)

Credit line

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Purchase, with funds from the Contemporary Painting and Sculpture Committee

Accession number

96.75a-b

Object Label

Two years in the making, Milk and Honey comprises a wood-framed glass cabinet with six glass shelves holding two thousand miniature, hand-thrown porcelain vessels—no two are alike. These small pitchers, pots, bowls, and beakers, some characterized by simple symmetry, others by ornate detail, represent a veritable encyclopedia of ceramic styles, referencing both historical and contemporary sources. All are glazed in varying shades of white, forming a ghostly, subtly differentiated array. The miniature scale suggests that we are looking into a private world, perhaps the world of childhood or childhood memories, while the sealed glass vitrine that contains the vessels alludes to obsessive collecting and proud display. The work's title, a reference to a biblical description of a land of abundance, fertility, and promise, suggests the seemingly limitless variety both of the forms of the vessels as well as of what they might contain.