MAN_Museo d'Arte Provincia di Nuoro

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Man Ray

Unconcerned But Not Indifferent

24.10.2008  -  06.01.2009

This exhibition draws exclusively on a collection of Man Ray’s work that has remained largely untouched since it was brought to the United States in the mid 1990s. Housed in Long Island, New York, the collection of the Man Ray Trust is comprised of more than 4,000 drawings, photographs, paintings, and objects. Founded in 1980 to preserve Man Ray’s legacy, the Trust’s collection is unique, representing all of the different phases of Man Ray’s career, including little known early works, documents of his private life, sketches for and documentation of major works, as well as innumerable familiar masterpieces. The structure of Unconcerned But Not Indifferent follows the chronology of Man Ray’s four working periods: New York, Paris, Los Angeles, Paris. Thus divided, the scope of the exhibition is defined by the scope of the collection itself. Examples of many of Man Ray’s most important works are presented, sometimes as originals and other times as multiples. Alongside these masterworks, Unconcerned But Not Indifferent presents a selection of little known and rarely seen works and objects. These include source material used to create artworks, experimental variations of well known works, and documentation of finished pieces. Objects that belonged to Man Ray and personal documents, including an early draft of Man Ray’s autobiography and his patent application for a magnetic chess set, are also presented. The full scope of the Man Ray Trust’s collection, in an exhibition that focuses on its masterpieces as well as its rarities, is presented here for the first time, providing a unique insight into his life and working process. Early Years (New York 1890 – 1921) The artist known as Man Ray was born Emmanuel Radnitzky in Philadelphia on August 27, 1890. His parents had emigrated to the United States from Russia in the 1880s. In 1897, the family moved to Brooklyn, New York, where Emmanuel grew interested in art and architecture. Finishing school in 1908, Emmanuel was drawn to the galleries and museums in Manhattan, and became a regular visitor at Alfred Stieglitz’s 291 Gallery. There, he was introduced to the idea of photography as fine art and had his first encounters with European modernism. In 1912, the Radnitzky family changed their surname to Ray, and Emmanuel abbreviated his given name to Man. Thereafter his works bore the signature Man Ray (frequently abbreviated to MR). In 1913, Man Ray left home and relocated to an artists’ community in Ridgefield, New Jersey. There, he met and soon married the Belgian poet Donna Lecoeur, penname Adon Lacroix, who exposed Man Ray to the work of the French poets Mallarmé, Rimbaud, and Apollinaire. The French artist Marcel Duchamp visited the community in summer 1915, and Duchamp and Man Ray became lifelong friends and collaborators. In Ridgefield, Man Ray’s work became increasingly abstract, and his canvases increasingly large. He learned photography in order to document his artwork. After leaving Ridgefield and moving to New York City, Man Ray struggled to earn his living through photography, making portraits and documenting other artists’ works in order to supplement the infrequent sale of his paintings. Marcel Duchamp returned to France in 1921, inviting Man Ray to join him there. Paris was then the center of the art world, and Man Ray, dissatisfied with the reception for his work in New York, soon announced his intention to relocate there.



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