|Dates||From 07/08/2010 to 23/01/2011|
Best known for revolutionizing the art of photography, American artist Man Ray (1890-1976) produced a prolific collection of striking black-and-white compositions inspired by the African objects they depict. The Phillips Collection showcases these works in a new exhibition that explores the pivotal role photographs played in changing the perception of African objects from artifacts to fine art. Man Ray, African Art and the Modernist Lens is on view at the Phillips from Oct. 10, 2009 to Jan. 10, 2010.
Man Ray, African Art and the Modernist Lens features more than 50 photographs by Man Ray from the 1920s and 1930s as well as approximately 50 photographs by his international avant-garde contemporaries, including Cecil Beaton, Walker Evans, Charles Sheeler, Alfred Stieglitz, and James L. Allen. For the first time, a selection of these photographs is presented alongside the original African objects they feature.
While the influence of African objects on modern painting and sculpture has been explored extensively, this exhibition examines the diverse parallel activities of early-20th-century photography. At the center of this investigation are both well-known and recently discovered photographs by Man Ray, whose images were instrumental in promoting non-Western objects as modern art to an international audience.
“These photographs speak powerfully to our collective past and invite us to look anew at a critical moment in the history of modern art,” says Dorothy Kosinski, director. “It is a timely, if not long overdue, moment to bring to light this neglected chapter of modern art with an exhibition that considers how photography has shaped our understanding of African art while contributing to diverse narratives of modernism.”
Wendy Grossman, photohistorian and exhibition curator, spent nearly two decades examining the relationship between photography and African art. Through this process she uncovered a number of unknown photographs by Man Ray and others which provide new perspectives on this preeminent artist as well as greater insight into the symbiotic process through which African art and photography engaged the dynamics of modernism.
In juxtaposing the photographs with the actual African masks, figures, and headdresses they depict, the exhibition offers a rare opportunity to encounter firsthand how techniques of framing, lighting, camera angle, and cropping evoke radically different interpretations of these objects. The exhibition also fully documents the histories of the individual objects, exploring the original ceremonial and cultural functions that were lost when manipulated to meet Western ideas of beauty and art.
Man Ray was first introduced to African art in 1914 through a seminal exhibition at Alfred Stieglitz’s 291 Gallery. While his 1926 photograph Noire et blanche, which features the model Kiki of Montparnasse posing with an African mask, became an icon of Modernist photography, a large body of his lesser-known work and that of his contemporaries reveals a far more complex engagement with African art.
The exhibition is organized into four sections that place the photographs within the context of diverse modernist perspectives, including the Harlem Renaissance, surrealism, and the worlds of high fashion and popular culture.
Best known for revolutionizing the art of photography, American artist Man Ray (1890-1976) produced a prolific collection of striking black-and-white compositions inspired by the African objects they depict. The Phillips Collection showcases these works in a new exhibition that explores the pivotal role photographs played in changing the perception of African objects from artifacts to fine art.... read more »
|07/08/2010 untill 10/10/2010||University of Virginia Art Museum||More Info »|
|29/10/2010 untill 23/01/2011||University of British Columbia Museum of Anthropology||More Info »|