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Conversion to Modernism: The Early Work of…
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Conversion to Modernism: The Early Work of Man Ray

by Francis M. Naumann

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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0813531489, Paperback)

Man Ray (1890-1976) has long been considered one of the most versatile and innovative artists of the twentieth century. As a painter, writer, sculptor, photographer, and filmmaker, he is best known for his intimate association with the French Surrealist group in Paris during the 1920s and 1930s, particularly for his highly inventive and unconventional photographic images. These remarkable accomplishments, however, have tended to overshadow the importance of his earlier work-significant not only for comprehending Man Ray's future artistic development, but also for fleshing out our understanding of the visual arts in America during one of the most important and crucial phases of modernism's evolution.

The book, and the exhibition for which it serves as the catalogue, concentrate on Man Ray's production from 1907 to 1917. Conversion to Modernism is the first comprehensive, fully illustrated work to examine this artist's seminal years, beginning with his high school years in Brooklyn, his studies at the Art Students League and the National Academy of Design in New York, and the time he spent in life drawing classes at the more progressive Ferrer Center.

From 1913 to 1915, Man Ray lived in a small artists' colony in Grantwood, New Jersey. It was here, studying with Samuel Halpert (a former student of Matisse), that he began to become the artist we know today. Throughout this period, Man Ray's work developed methodically, in a gradual but certain evolution to abstraction. This progression culminated in 1916 with the publication of a remarkably early and important formalist tract, wherein the flat planar surface is established as a common vehicle of expression for all the arts: music, literature, dance, architecture, sculpture, and painting. The last section of the book includes recently discovered photographs and other works influenced by the emergent Dada movement. Here is Man Ray in recognizable form just before he leaves the country for France in 1921.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:07 -0400)

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