“Coming into Brancusi’s studio was like entering another world.” – Man Ray, 1963This short but evocative quote currently appears high on the wall just inside the entrance to The Edward Steichen Photography Galleries, on MoMA’s third floor.
Posts tagged ‘Man Ray’
To get everyone in the mood for today’s amorous holiday, I’ve selected some of the best kisses from MoMA’s collection. What’s your favorite?
Moiré (from a French textile description) occurs when two patterns (meshes, concentric rings, grids, etc.) are overlaid, creating visual interference at their intersections.
These notes accompany the French Avant-Garde of the 1920s program, screening April 14, 15, and 16 in Theater 3.
Charles Sheeler comes to mind as one of the few American artists who dabbled in film in the 1920s. Whereas in Germany the mainstream Expressionist cinema was itself avant-garde, and in Italy the society became surreal following Mussolini’s rise to power in 1922, France presented a unique instance of a free interplay of filmmakers with other visual artists. This program is an attempt to capture some of this interaction and to suggest how it might have benefited French culture. It also suggests that a society where the movies were totally dominated neither by commerce nor by the state provided an appealing model. It was certainly beneficial to Iris Barry, the founder of The Museum of Modern Art Film Library, to be able to cite names like Man Ray, Duchamp, Léger, and Dalí in establishing the high aspirations and legitimacy of film when appealing for funds from patrons who might look askance at Douglas Fairbanks, Charles Chaplin, or Walt Disney. (It was left for us future generations to make cogent arguments for Otto Preminger, Clint Eastwood, and John Waters.)
In my last MoMA Offsite (which, as it happens, was also the first-ever MoMA Offsite), I set the agenda for this column, which is to reveal and discuss MoMA collection works on loan to other institutions. I chose to explore both works that are infrequently on view here at Fifty-third Street as well as those that are regular residents in our galleries, assuming that each entry would take me to different artists from different time periods, featured in different shows in different parts of the world. But in the infancy of this mission I am already going to break the pattern by speaking exclusively this week about one artist and one show, just up the road: Alias Man Ray: The Art of Reinvention, on view at The Jewish Museum through March 14.
I think it’s a really vital moment for photography right now. Over the past few years, a number of artists have re-opened the discussion on the nature of photography, investigating the materials and processes of the medium itself. Of course, this recent examination is part of a long lineage of experimentation in photography, seen in the work of artistic giants such as László Moholy-Nagy (included in MoMA’s current Bauhaus exhibition) as well as in more recent experimentation by artists such as James Welling. Walead Beshty is active in many of these discussions, as both a writer on the subject and an artist addressing the basic processes of photography.
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