Todd Gray
Expanded Digital Archive

Todd Gray

Back to Made in L.A. 2016

As a teenager Todd Gray befriended Ray Manzarek, founding member of and keyboard player for the rock band the Doors (1965–73). A starstruck Gray spotted Manzarek and his wife, Dorothy, at the 1968 Los Angeles Auto Show and introduced himself, sparking a friendship that would last for years and work to their mutual benefit. It was Ray Manzarek who encouraged Gray to pursue his dreams of being a professional photographer, leading him to attend California Institute of the Arts and pursue a path to becoming an artist.

After Ray died in 2013, Dorothy Manzarek allowed Gray to borrow the musician’s wardrobe. For one year Gray wore only clothes that had belonged to Manzarek, a subtle shift that impacted the routines of his daily life. Conducted outside the auspices of any institution, the gesture was not reducible to either an artistic impulse or a memorial one. It was simply something that Gray felt moved to do. The work took the form of the most quotidian of rituals and has not been formally documented lest images of the work be taken as the work itself. Throughout the run of the exhibition, Gray is restaging the piece, its presence noted only through a wall label and any encounter one might have with the artist, either while going about one’s daily life or on the off-chance that he should visit the museum.