The creative process cannot be silenced.
Man Ray
“It has never been my object to record my dreams,” said artist Man Ray, “just the determination to realize them.”

Provocative, engaging, humorous, inspiring and challenging, Man Ray’s life and art were a reflection of each other. Born Emmanuel Radnitzky to Russian-Jewish immigrants, Man Ray rose from the streets of New York to become one of the most dynamic and influential artists of the 20th century.

As a youth, Ray studied the Old Masters while steadily working toward being a professional painter. To support himself, he earned money as a commercial artist and technical illustrator.

Two pivotal experiences in the 1910’s forever changed Ray and his work: the influence of European paintings and meeting artist Marcel Duchamp, who became a great friend, collaborator and influence to Ray. Ray soon abandoned conventional painting and eventually became a significant pioneer of the Dada and Surrealist movements.

And yet while Ray’s creativity surged, he believed that his foray in Dadaism was no match for the untamed energy of Manhattan. “Dada cannot live in New York. All New York is dada, and will not tolerate a rival.”

Moving to Paris in 1921, Man became friends with the likes of legendary artists Jean Cocteau, Gertrude Stein and James Joyce, as well as becoming their unofficial photographer.

It was during this time that Ray created a revolutionary photography technique using photograms, which he later called Rayographs. He described his invention as “pure Dadaism.”

Images were everything as Ray turned his attention to cinema where he created four incredibly influential avant-garde short films, including the legendary Emak-Bakia. Ray also helped his friends Marcel Duchamp and Fernand Leger with their films. Forced by the war to move out of Paris, Ray relocated to Hollywood, where he became one of the world’s most influential fashion photographers.

Longing to return to Paris, Ray moved back once the war was over. For the next twenty-five years, until his death at age 86, he devoted himself to painting. Like so many now-famous, cutting-edge artists, appreciation for Ray’s work was slow in coming during his lifetime. But since his death, Man Ray’s reputation has dutifully grown.

Named one of the 25 most influential artists of the 20th century by ARTnews magazine (1999) Ray was lauded for his groundbreaking photography as well as for “his explorations of film, painting, sculpture, collage, assemblage, and prototypes of what would eventually be called performance art and conceptual art.”

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