Man Ray was among the instigators of Dada in New York in the late 1910s. His subject is the Romanian-born writer (1896-1963) who helped found Zurich Dada and achieved notoriety for composing verse from cut up and rearranged bits of newspaper and who guided Man Ray through Paris upon his arrival in 1921. Shot in Man Ray's room on the rue de la Condamine (next door to his friend Marcel Duchamp), the photograph shows one of his violent sculpture-objects (such as the pistol-with-magnet entitled Compass of two years earlier) dangling over the poet, who coolly ignores his doubly assured destruction with the wave of a cigarette. This picture was also sandwich printed by the artist with another image featuring a giant topless female model looming imperiously over the morbid proceedings-a transitional moment between Dada's wicked humor and the woman-obsessed fever dreams of the emerging Surrealists.
Artist; [...]; Marc Dachy, Paris
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Portraits: A Century of Photographs," September 10, 2002–January 13, 2003.
This image is better known as part of another work in which it was sandwich printed with a photograph of Madeleine Turban.