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Luce Foundation Center for American Art

Sculpture: 20th century: Le Voyeur
Man Ray

Man Ray

(born Philadelphia, PA 1890 -- died Paris, France 1976)

Learn about Man Ray's assemblages 4.7MB

“[My work] is designed to amuse, bewilder, annoy or to inspire reflection, but not to arouse admiration for any technical excellence usually sought for in works of art. The streets are full of admirable craftsmen, but so few practical dreamers.” Man Ray, Exhibition Catalogue, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, 1966

Man Ray was a leading figure in the European and American avant-gardes of the 1920s and 1930s, including Dada and surrealism. He pushed the boundaries of each medium he used, inventing techniques that revolutionized photography, film, and painting. Inspired by his good friend Marcel Duchamp---the creator of the “readymade”---Man Ray used found objects in his art as early as 1919. He followed Duchamp to Paris and became closely involved with the Parisian Dada group, while also pursuing fashion and portrait photography. Man Ray was introduced to the local art scene as an “enigma,” and his friends often invented absurd stories about his background to accompany exhibitions of his work. He dismissed the concept of original art, made many replicas of his work, and claimed that the idea always had the same meaning regardless of how many times the object was reproduced.

Image Credits: Man Ray by Adolf Hoffmeister. National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.