/ The DC Traveler
Washington DC — By Jon Rochetti on September 28, 2009 at 6:21 am

Dadaist Man Ray’s Photos in Washington, DC

Man Ray was a truly revolutionary American artist. He was a filmmaker, painter, sculptor and created unique photographs and other avant-garde works of art, now closely associated with the 1916-1922 Dada and later Surrealist movements.

Man Ray_UntitledOne medium he focused on was creating striking black-and-white photos inspired by African art objects, often juxtaposed with people.  These images changed the way the art world perceived African art.

Ray also used the camera to capture portraits of great artists of his time, including James Joyce and Gertrude Stein, as well as images of fashion. He spent decades experimenting with lighting, composition and subjects.

Man Ray, African Art and the Modernist Lens at The Phillips Collection in Washington, DC showcases over 100 photographs, including 60 by Man Ray from the 1920s and 1930s, as well as another 50 photographs by his contemporaries. Many are presented along with the original African objects featured in the image.

Some of the photos were before unknown or never displayed in the U.S. and provide a new perspective on Dadaist Ray. The highlight image is the 1926 photograph Noire et blanche, featuring an African mask and celebrated Paris bohemian model and Ray’s lover Kiki (Alice Prin). Noire et blanche is just one of the hundreds of portraits Ray created of her.

The image became an icon of Modernist photography, and was part of a larger collection of Ray’s work with African art. The image was initially published in Paris Vogue which helped introduce a mainstream audiences to both African art and avant-garde photography.

Man Ray_Noire et blanche

As a big fan of Man Ray and the Dada movement, two of my favorite quotes by him are:

– “All critics should be assassinated.”

– “There is no progress in art, any more than there is progress in making love. There are simply different ways of doing it.”

Man Ray, African Art and the Modernist Lens
The Phillips Collection
1600 21st Street, NW
Washington, DC  (map it)

Dates & Times – Exhibit dates – October 10, 2009 through January 10, 2010.  Museum hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., Thursday until 8:30 p.m. and Sunday, 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Tickets – Adults $12.00, Seniors and students – $10.00. Tickets available online through Ticketmaster or by phone at 202-397-SEAT.

Nearest Metro Subway Station – Dupont Circle – Red line, then a 3-block walk, or use the DC Circulator bus.

Parking – Limited metered street parking and area paid garage parking is available.

Images – Courtesy of The Phillips Collection.  Man Ray (1890-1976). Untitled (Commemorative figure of a queen, Bangwa Kingdom, Cameroon, 19th century, Paris, Musée Dapper), c. 1933. Gelatin silver print. Private Collection, Paris. © 2009 Man Ray Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris. Man Ray (1890-1976). Noire et blanche, 1926. Gelatin silver print. First reproduced in Paris Vogue (May 1, 1926). Private Collection, New York. © 2009 Man Ray Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris

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