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Michel, Bataille, et Moi, and I

IN 1927 MIRÓ MADE a picture of himself strolling at night in Paris, accompanied by Michel Leiris and Georges Bataille. Or, if “making a picture” is something of a misstatement of how they appear in this painting, he inscribed the following words on a loose, umber wash: “Musique,” in the upper left; “Seine” in the middle; and then, along the lower right—presumably at the spot where the riverbank would be—the three walkers: “Michel, Bataille, et moi.

Yet if Miró thus indelibly inscribed the name of Bataille into his art, no writer on that art—up until the present exhibition at MoMA—has ever done likewise. This includes myself, though I was given ample opportunity to do so when, in 1972, I wrote on this and similar pictures for an exhibition of Miró’s work at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum called “Magnetic Fields.” In the intervening years, of course, I have written extensively on the

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