New York

Man Ray

Cordier And Ekstrom

What to say about Man Ray? His production was among the first to require of the critic an approach that has become increasingly frequent—one must talk less about the work as artifact than about the issues it raises; but what is often forgotten is that this is the point of the work. Or, to put it differently, the interest of the work is not at all in its formal or technical qualities, and even I, although I think Ray is often spectacularly weak in these respects, seldom find this weakness so great as to block off other ways of relating to and experiencing the work. In this regard, such a characteristic as weakness of composition is much less detrimental than the derivativeness of Ray’s conception: The Rope Dancer Accompanies Herself with Her Shadows is actually a very well-composed piece, but the intrusive mimicking of Duchamp in its forms spoils it far more than weakness of composition

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