Monthly Archives: January 2011

Compass by Man Ray


Compass by Man Ray, 1920. Gelatin silver print, 11.7 x 8.6 cm.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City.

Maria Morris Hambourg:

[A] magnet and pistol are proposed as an instrument of orientation. If we accept it as such, our fates are as arbitraryas in a game of Russian roulette. Yet Man Ray’s contraption does not work; it hangs against a wall and cannot revolve like the free-floating needle of a normal compass. It functions, rather, as a sign. As magnets respond to invisible physical forces and guns to personal compulsions, so Compass points to the mysterious predictability of our deepest urges. This menacing note is only ironic, however, for the pistol is but a child’s toy and the oddly quiescent still-life presentation is as benign as the elegant tones and surface of this small, finely finished print.

Maria Morris Hambourg, “Photography Between the Wars: Selections from the Ford Motor Company Collection” The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, New Series, 45 no. 4 (1988), 6

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Luna 2 by Chad Awalt


Luna 2 by Chad Awalt

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The Shadow of a Grand Piano Approaching


Dalí: Diurnal Illusion: The Shadow of a Grand Piano Approaching, 1931.

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The Octopus


THE OCTOPUS — A Japanese Fisherman Struggles for his Life

A highly detailed sculpture by a Japanese artist.

Photographed by Kimbei Kusakabe.

via Okinawa Soba:

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Poèm Objet by André Breton


Poèm Objet by André Breton, 1935.

Collage of object and inscribed poem on card on wood.

From the National Galleries of Scotland:

Breton’s personal contribution to surrealist art was his fusion of poetry and object in his ‘Poème-Objet’ constructions. Although not an artist himself, he was eager to explore any technique that required minimum artistic skill, such as the collages and assemblages. In 1924, Breton called for the creation of objects seen in dreams. He made about a dozen of his own assemblages in the 1930s and early 1940s, calling them ‘Poème-Objets’. The text on the plaster egg in this work translates as ‘I see / I imagine’ and the poem beneath is deliberately cryptic.

The poem reads:

A l’intersection de lignes de force invisibles


Le point de chant vers quoi les arbres se font la courte échelle

L’épine de silence

Qui veut que le seigneur des navires livre au vent son panache de chiens bleus

(At the intersection of invisible lines of force

To find

The focal point towards which trees give each other a leg up

The thorn of silence

That wants the lord of the ships to give the winds its panache of blue dogs)

Curator’s Note: The poem was produced through automatism. It’s not “deliberately cryptic” per se; rather, it’s a confluence of consciousness.

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David Smith: Liberating American sculpture


Untitled (Candida), 1965

Stainless steel, 103 x 120 x 31 inches

Photograph taken by David Smith, © Estate of David Smith/ VAGA

from A World to Win | David Smith: Liberating American sculpture, a review.

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