Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Compass

Artist:
Man Ray (American, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1890–1976 Paris)
Date:
1920
Medium:
Gelatin silver print
Dimensions:
11.7 x 8.6 cm (4 5/8 x 3 3/8 in.)
Classification:
Photographs
Credit Line:
Ford Motor Company Collection, Gift of Ford Motor Company and John C. Waddell, 1987
Accession Number:
1987.1100.40
Rights and Reproduction:
© 2016 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 910
Before leaving Paris for New York in 1921, Man Ray made several constructions that questioned the authority of logic and science over the imagination. This quirky instrument, which he called "Compass," was one. The fields of force to which it might respond are as erratic and potentially as destructive as a game of Russian roulette. After making the exposure, Man Ray characteristically disassembled the magnet-and-pistol device, leaving only this single original print as the reminder of a provocative Dada idea. It is "purely cerebral yet material" (as Man Ray said of Marcel Duchamp's "Large Glass"), whimsical yet deadly earnest.
Inscription: Signed and inscribed in pencil on mount, recto, below print, bottom left: "Man Ray"; bottom right: "1920"
Arturo Schwarz, Milan, Italy; [Prakapas Gallery, Bronxville, New York]; John C. Waddell, New York (June 1984)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The New Vision: Photography between the World Wars. The Ford Motor Company Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art," September 23, 1989–December 31, 1989.

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. "The New Vision: Photography between the World Wars. The Ford Motor Company Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art," February 28, 1990–April 22, 1990.

Los Angeles County Museum of Art. "The New Vision: Photography between the World Wars. The Ford Motor Company Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art," May 10, 1990–July 15, 1990.

High Museum of Art. "The New Vision: Photography between the World Wars. The Ford Motor Company Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art," February 5, 1991–April 28, 1991.

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. "The New Vision: Photography between the World Wars. The Ford Motor Company Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art," June 8, 1991–August 4, 1991.

IVAM, Centre Julio Gonzalez, Valencia. "The New Vision, IVAM, Centre Julio Gonzalez, Valencia," January 20, 1995–March 26, 1995.

Haus der Kunst München. "Die scheinbaren Dinge," September 2, 2000–November 19, 2000.

National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. "Dada," February 19, 2006–May 14, 2006.

Museum of Modern Art, New York. "Dada," June 16, 2006–September 11, 2006.

Jewish Museum, New York. "Alias Man Ray," November 15, 2009–March 14, 2010.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Reimagining Modernism: Photographs Rotation 7," July 18, 2016–November 21, 2016.

Foresta, Merry A. Perpetual Motif: The Art of Man Ray. New York: Smithsonian American Art Museum, 1988. no. 14, p. 21.

Hambourg, Maria Morris. The New Vision: Photography between the World Wars, Ford Motor Company Collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1989. no. 84.

Klein, Mason. Alias Man Ray: The Art of Reinvention. New Haven: Jewish Museum, New York, 2009. p. 54, fig. 57.



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