LAMA BLOG

Just In: Man Ray Lampshade

November 9, 2012

LAMA’s 20th Anniversary Auction [Part Two] will offer some truly special pieces of biomorphic Surrealism, including an Alexander Calder brooch (Lot 281), an Isamu Noguchi Chess table (Lot 285), and a Jean Arp brooch (Lot 280). Evocative of organic forms found in nature, each of these pieces mystifies with subtle movement.

Another biomorphic sculpture, Man Ray’s Lampshade (Abat-Jour) (Lot 279) is similarly beguiling with its ever-changing spiral blueprint that reverses, speeds up, or returns to stasis with every breeze.

Surrealists conjured life out of everyday objects, and Man Ray believed that “the idea was always more important than the actual work.” Arising from a mishap in 1920, Man Ray demonstrated this belief with an ordinary piece of metal. On the night before his exhibition was set to open, a janitor accidentally threw away Man Ray’s first version of Lampshade (Abat-Jour), a spiraled piece of paper hanging from an armature. He was distraught, but upon the suggestion of Katherine Dreier, artist and art patron who co-founded the modern art venue Société Anonyme with Duchamp and Man Ray, he reconstructed Lampshade (Abat-Jour) out of painted metal. Once flat and inert, this example from 1964 becomes a Dada readymade that produces a movement all its own.

Baldwin, Neil. Man Ray: American Artist. New York: Man Ray Trust, 1988. Print.
Tait, Liv. “Man Ray, Museo d’Arte Lugano.” The Tait Global. TheTaitGlobal.com, 26 Apr. 2011. Web. 27 Oct. 2012.

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