The New Beetle, 2006 Painted steel 21 × 34 1/2 × 28 1/2 in
Best known for his sculptures of almost imperceptibly altered, or wildly exaggerated, familiar objects, Charles Ray creates mesmerizing, disorienting works that challenge perception. With Firetruck (1993), for example, Ray enlarged a toy Tonka truck to the proportions of an actual fire truck and “parked” it in front of the Whitney Museum in New York. From afar, Firetruck looked real. It was only upon approach that viewers saw that it was not. Ray’s Ink Line (1987), an example of his exquisitely subtle work, consists of a stream of black ink running from a dime-sized hole in the ceiling to a dime-sized hole in the floor. Upon close inspection, viewers realize that what looks like a piece of string is actually a continuous flow of liquid.