The Art & Architecture Library is pleased to present the latest exhibition in its "Permanent Rotation: Works from the Locked Stacks" series: "Four Works by Man Ray." In his repeated engagements with the book as media object, the American artist Man Ray extended the Surrealist fascination with ephemerality into the book form and firmly established it as an acceptable and readily available medium for modern artists. As Johanna Drucker notes in The Century of Artists’ Books, it is difficult to envision any art movement of the 20th century without also considering its relationship to the development of the artist's book as a unique form with its own attributes.
The four co-authored works by Man Ray shown in this exhibition are closely linked with the Surrealist era, dating from 1925 to 1937. These titles are decidedly collaborative efforts, each a partnership between Man Ray and a noted Surrealist writer: Jean Cocteau, Paul Éluard, and André Breton. They embrace the European tradition of the fine press livre d’artiste, but they also propose a new model for commercially produced artists' books that was fully emergent by the 1960s.
The works are on display in the reading room.