Tag Archive | Man Ray

Modern Art Monday Presents: May Ray The Rope Dancer Accompanies Herself With Shadows

The Rope Dancer Accompanies Herself
Photo By Gail

Man Ray (Born Emmanuel Radnitzky, 1890 – 1976) became dissatisfied with his initial composition for this work, The Rope Dancer Accompanies Herself With Shadows (1916), which was inspired by a tightrope performance he had seen in a vaudeville show. He had originally arranged pieces of colored paper  cut into the shapes of the tightrope dancer’s acrobatic forms. Glancing down at the floor, he noticed that the discarded scraps of paper from which the shapes had been cut formed an abstract pattern resulting from chance. Comparing the accidental pattern with shadows that a dancer might have cast on the floor, he incorporated it into his composition.

Photographed in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.

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Modern Art Monday Presents, René Magritte, The False Mirror

The False Mirror
Photo By Gail

Le Faux Miroir (1928) presents an enormous lash-less eye with a luminous cloud-swept blue sky filling the iris, and an opaque, dead-black disc for a pupil. The allusive title, provided by Belgian surrealist writer Paul Nougé, seems to insinuate limits to the authority of optical vision: a mirror provides a mechanical reflection, but the eye is selective and subjective. Magritte’s single eye functions on multiple enigmatic levels: the viewer both looks through it, as through a window, and is looked at by it, thus seeing and being seen simultaneously. The Surrealist photographer Man Ray, who owned the work from 1933 to 1936, recognized this compelling duality when he memorably described Le Faux Miroir as a painting that “sees as much as it itself is seen.”

Photographed in the Museum of Modern Art n NYC.

Modern Art Monday: Man Ray, Indestructible Object

Indestructible Object
Photo By Gail

Man Ray (1890 – 1976) was a consummate avant-garde artist who often incorporated everyday materials in his work and embraced chance and accident. In this piece, originally created in 1923, and tiled Object to Be Destroyed, Man Ray places a photographic eye on the ticking wand of a metronome to make an object at once mechanical and human, quotidian and bizarre. The use of found objects aligns the work with Dada, while the psychological resonance of the eye points to themes that would become important to Surrealism, officially founded a year later in 1924. Man Ray remade the present version in 1963, six years after the original was destroyed at an exhibition. He wryly re-titled it Indestructible Object to reflect its seemingly indestructible nature.

Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Modern Art Monday Presents: Man Ray, Obstruction

Man Ray Obstruction
All Photos By Gail

Man Ray (1890 – 1976) worked in a wide variety of media, including photography, painting, and sculpture, often blurring the boundaries between these practices. Obstruction, an assemblage of 63 wooden coat hangers, is an example of the type of artwork Dada artist Marcel Duchamp called a Ready-Made, a term that suggests Man Ray’s appropriation and manipulation of pre-existing, common objects. The sculpture playfully mimics a chandelier, but, as the hangers seemingly divide and multiply, Obstruction quickly evolves into a dense tangle of overlapping forms. Cast shadows serve as distorted, immaterial extensions of its physical presence. Man Ray first created Obstruction in 1920, but the present work belongs to an addition of 15 reproductions that he created in 1961 for an important exhibition of kinetic art.

Photographed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Man Ray Obstruction

Modern Art Monday Presents: Man Ray, Laboratory of The Future

Laboratory of The Future
Photo By Gail

Artist May Ray (born Emmanuel Radnitzky, August 27, 1890 – November 18, 1976) was a significant contributor to the Dada and Surrealist movements, although his ties to each were informal. He produced major works in a variety of media but considered himself a painter above all. He was best known for his photography, and he was a renowned fashion and portrait photographer. Ray is also noted for his work with photograms, which he called Rayographs, in reference to himself.

In 1935, Man Ray photographed his studio reflected in a silvery orb, and called it Laboratory of the Future. This striking photograph (a Gelatin Silver print) is part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC.