Alias Man Ray


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Mason Klein; with contributions by George Baker, Merry L. Foresta, and Lauren Schell Dickens

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“[An artist] so deforms the subject as almost to hide the identity of the original, and creates a new form.”—Man Ray

Born Emmanuel Radnitzky, the artist known as Man Ray (1890–1976) revealed multiple artistic identities over the course of his career—New York Dadaist, Parisian Surrealist, international portraitist, and fashion photographer––and produced important works as a photographer, painter, filmmaker, writer, and maker of objects. Alias Man Ray considers how the artist’s life and career were shaped by his turn-of-the-century American Jewish immigrant experience and his lifelong evasion of his past.

As an exploration of the artist’s deliberate cultural ambiguity, which allowed him to become the first American artist to be accepted by the Paris avant garde, this book examines the dynamic connection between Man Ray’s working-class origins, his assimilation, the evolution of his art, and his willful construction of his own artistic persona, as evidenced in a series of subtle, encrypted self-references throughout the artist’s career. Beautifully illustrated, Alias Man Ray will stand as a definitive study of an incomparable figure in 20th-century art.

Published in association with The Jewish Museum

Exhibition Schedule:

The Jewish Museum, New York (November 15, 2009 – March 14, 2010) 

MASON KLEIN is Curator of Fine Arts at The Jewish Museum.
GEORGE BAKER is Associate Professor of Art History at the University of California, Los Angeles.
MERRY L. FORESTA is the founding director of the Smithsonian Photography Initiative.
LAUREN DICKENS is the Neubauer Family Foundation Curatorial Assistant at The Jewish Museum.


The Jewish Museum, New York (November 15, 2009 – March 14, 2010) 

"Secrecy was [Man Ray's] obsession, his career strategy or possibly his ideological position. In 1921, a flourishing young artist in New York, he moved up to the big time, Paris. There he let it be known that he wished to be someone from nowhere with no ties to anything but art. In Alias Man Ray: The Art of Reinvention . . . , a first-class critical biography accompanying the current exhibition at the Jewish Museum in New York, the editor and principal contributor, Mason Klein, points out that there was never a time when Ray spoke frankly about his origins."—Robert Fulford, The National Post (Canada) 

"Highly provocative and always stimulating to the eye." —Robert Leiter, Heritage Florida Jewish News

Winner of the 2011 National Jewish Book Awards in the Visual Arts category, sponsored by the Jewish Book Council
ISBN: 9780300146837
Publication Date: December 1, 2009
Publishing Partner: Published in association with The Jewish Museum
256 pages, 8 1/4 x 11
54 b/w + 192 color illus.
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