Man Ray (1890-1976)

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Ray, Man (1890-1976), American painter, photographer, and leading figure in the artistic avant-garde in Paris of the 1920s. He was born in Philadelphia, studied at the National Academy of Design in New York City, and held his first one-man show of paintings in 1912. With his friend, the French painter Marcel Duchamp, he helped to found the New York City Dada group in 1917. Under Duchamp's influence, he began to work with new materials and techniques, for example, painting with an airbrush on glass and other surfaces. His "ready-mades" such as his flatiron with tacks projecting from the bottom called The Gift (1921, Museum of Modern Art, New York City) were made from everyday manufactured objects. He also pioneered in kinetic works, which have moving parts. Going to Paris in 1921, he developed “Rayographs,” abstract images made by placing objects on light-sensitive surfaces. He also became involved in surrealism and made art films, including L'Étoile de Mer (1928). The expressive possibilities of photography interested him increasingly, and in California from 1940 to 1946 he taught the subject. In later years in France, he experimented with new ways of making color prints, and he published an autobiography, Self Portrait (1963).

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