APRIL 2-JUNE 25, 2000
A PRACTICAL DREAMER: THE PHOTOGRAPHS OF MAN RAY
"The streets are full of admirable craftsmen, but so few practical dreamers."--Man RayThroughout his career as a painter, sculptor, filmmaker, and photographer, American artist Man Ray conjured images that expanded aesthetic boundaries. His prolific and influential practice, especially his work in photography, has been noted for its technical innovation; however, as the quote above suggests, he was not content simply to be a craftsman. Instead, he used his mastery of the photographic medium to explore the irrational, the incongruous, and the unexpected, and he became one of the only American artists who was central to both the Dada and Surrealist movements. He explored many Dada and Surrealist themes in his work, including a fascination with dreams and the unconscious and the exoticization of non-Western cultures. This exhibition presents more than 100 photographs, books, and related materials to provide an overview of Man Ray's extraordinary accomplishments in the photographic arena.
Born Emmanuel Radnitsky in Philadelphia in 1890, Man Ray grew up in Brooklyn and began his career as a painter. He bought his first camera in 1914, intending to use it to document his work, but soon turned his attention to the exploration of photography as an art form. In 1921, at the urging of fellow Dadaists Marcel Duchamp and Francis Picabia, Man Ray moved to Paris to join the growing cultural avant-garde. There he worked in painting and photography while supporting himself through portrait commissions and fashion photography, which appeared regularly in such magazines as Harper's Bazaar and Vogue during the 1930s. After the Germans invaded Paris in 1940, Man Ray returned to the United States, settling in Hollywood with the intention of pursuing filmmaking. Although he stayed in Hollywood for a decade, he became disenchanted with the film world and instead spent his time painting, writing, and taking photographs. In 1951 he returned to Paris, where he lived and worked until his death in 1976.
A Practical Dreamer: The Photographs of Man Ray was organized
by the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, and drawn from its extensive
archive of Man Ray's photographs. It includes more than 100 vintage prints
that span the years 1916 to 1951 and provide a broad sampling of his imagery,
which ranges from cityscapes, portraits, and nudes to abstract compositions
and Surrealist scenarios. Constantly challenging the technical possibilities
of the medium, he experimented with contact printing, under- and overexposing
prints, superimposing negatives, and shooting through various fabrics
and filters; a large selection of such explorations will be on view. His
work as a portrait photographer is highlighted through photographs of
cultural luminaries such as Marcel Duchamp, Gertrude Stein, James Joyce,
and Marcel Proust; the exhibition also features several images of his
As a complement to this rich body of photographic work, the exhibition will include a continuous presentation of three of Man Ray's Surrealist films--Le retour à la raison (1923), Emak Bakia (1926), and L'étoile de mer (1928-1929). A selection of journals, artists' books, exhibition catalogues, and other photo-related materials will place his work in a broader cultural context, in particular his groundbreaking fashion photography. Finally, a grouping of works by his friends and contemporaries in the Dada and Surrealist movements--drawn from local collections--will situate Man Ray's work in the context of the avant-garde community in which he worked.
FRENCH SURREALIST FILMS FROM THE RUBEN COLLECTION
THURSDAYS, JUNE 8, 15, 22, AND 29, 2000
In conjunction with A Practical Dreamer: The Photographs of Man Ray, rare screenings of Surrealist films by Man Ray's colleagues are presented throughout the month.
BODIES OF DESIRE: THE COLLABORATION BETWEEN MAN RAY AND LEE MILLER SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2 PM FREE AUDITORIUM
SUNDAY, MAY 4, 2 PM
Art historian Whitney Chadwick explores the complex relationship between Man Ray and American photographer Lee Miller.
FREE FIRST SATURDAY
SATURDAY, MAY 6, 11 AM-4 PM
Discover artist Man Ray's many photographic portraits, see a spirited performance and imaginative animated films, make art to take home, and more. All activities are free and available on a first-come, first-served basis.
THURSDAY, MAY 11, 6:30 PM
Take an in-depth look at Man Ray's art in the context of other avant-garde artists, writers, and thinkers of the 1920s and 1930s. Gallery A.
MAGNIFICENT MAN RAY MOTHER'S DAY
SUNDAY, MAY 14, 1-2:30 PM
Children ages 3-8 and their favorite adults explore the exhibition A Practical Dreamer: The Photographs of Man Ray and construct surreal photo collages using Polaroids, paint, and paper.
THURSDAY, MAY 25, 6:30 PM
Examine Man Ray's photography in terms of its experimental and dreamlike technical qualities, such as the signature "solarization" effect present in much of his work. Gallery A.
LIVE MUSIC/SILENT FILM
SATURDAY, APRIL 1, 8 PM
Tom Verlaine, guiding force behind the band Television, accompanies classic silent films by Man Ray and other avant-garde artists.
OPENING-DAY CURATOR'S TOUR
SUNDAY, APRIL 2, 2 PM
Exhibition curator Katherine Ware, Curator of Photo-graphs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, leads an enlightening tour of Man Ray's work.
WALKER AFTER HOURS
FRIDAY, APRIL 14, 5:30-9 PM
"The streets are full of admirable craftsmen, but so few practical dreamers," said Surrealist Man Ray. As the tax man cometh, take a break and enjoy a non-taxing evening exploring the exhibition A Practical Dreamer: The Photographs of Man Ray.
IN THE WALKER ART CENTER SHOPS
The publication In Focus: Man Ray, a compact volume published by the J. Paul Getty Museum, features 47 reproductions, plus commentary and contributions from Katherine Ware, Weston Naef, and others. Softcover: $17.50 ($15.75 Walker members).
A PRACTICAL DREAMER: THE PHOTOGRAPHS OF MAN RAY WAS ORGANIZED
BY THE J. PAUL GETTY MUSEUM AND CURATED BY KATHERINE WARE, FORMERLY ASSISTANT
CURATOR OF PHOTOGRAPHS AT THE GETTY AND CURRENTLY THE CURATOR OF PHOTOGRAPHS
AT THE PHILADELPHIA MUSEUM OF ART. THE WALKER'S PRESENTATION OF