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  • Selfportrait Man Ray
    Born Michael Emmanuel Radnitzky (1890) Man Ray grew up in Philadelphia, later in Brooklyn. In 1908 he began painting, first as an amateur, and then in classes at the National Academy of Design and the Art Students League. At the suggestion of his brother, the family changed its name to Ray in 1912, after which Man Ray signed his work with that name.
  • In 1913 he moved to the artists' colony of Ridgefield, New Jersey, across the Hudson River from Manhattan. There, inspired but overwhelmed by the import of the Armory Show, Man Ray painted primarily in a cubist idiom. In 1915 he published one issue of the Ridgefield Gazook, an antiwar broadsheet.
  • In 1915 Walter Arensberg, a wealthy poet and patron of modern art, took Marcel Duchamp out to Ridgefield to meet Man Ray. In December of that year, Man Ray moved into Manhattan and became involved in the circle of avant-garde artists, writers, and intellectuals gathered around the Arensbergs. In April 1920 Ray had three works shown at the first exhibition of the Société Anonyme, an organization for modern art that he and Duchamp helped Katherine Dreier to establish, and in 1921, he and Duchamp published the only issue of New York Dada. Several months after it appeared, Man Ray wrote Tristan Tzara, complaining that "Dada cannot live in New York. All New York is dada and will not tolerate a rival, will not notice dada." He followed Duchamp to Paris shortly thereafter.
  • Before he even arrived in Paris, some of his works had been shown at the June 1921 Salon Dada at the Galerie Montaigne. About six months after his arrival, he had a one-person show at the Librairie Six bookstore, with a catalogue to which all of Dada's major players in Paris contributed, including Paul Eluard, Louis Aragon, and Tzara.
  • In Paris, Man Ray continued to experiment with photography, which he had begun in New York, documenting his and Duchamp's works and using the camera to record everyday life and objects from unusual angles. In early 1922 Man Ray began to produce his photograms, calling them 'Rayographs' or 'Rayograms'. Man Ray's experiments with photography, which often produced mysterious and disturbing, sexually charged images, brought him into the center of surrealism in Paris in the 1920s.
  • Since then he spent the rest of his life Paris, only interrupted during World War II. Man Ray died in 1976.
  • TEXT CREDITS
    More extensive is Amanda L. Hockensmith, 'Man Ray', published in Leah Dickerman (ed.), Dada. Zurich, Berlin, Hannover, Cologne, New York, Paris (National Gallery of Art : Washington DC 2005) 478-479 and online available at Dada biographies: Man Ray, an exhibition at the National Gallery of Art. The article is translated in French and published in Dada / Catalogue publié sous la direction de Laurent Le Bon (Éditions du Centre Pompidou : Paris 2005).
  • IMAGE CREDITS
    Man Ray Man Self-Portrait, 1924 (from Lune en Rodage I portfolio); Gelatin silver print (printed 1960s).
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