Man Ray & Africa: Return to Egypt?
By Scott Martin
posted: 12-22-09
Untitled, Man Ray. Gold weight, circa 1933.
Image Source
In an evocative review of the Phillips Collection's ongoing exhibition of Man Ray's interest in African art, painter Menachem Wecker ponders whether Ray's use of apparently Egyptian iconography points to a repudiation of his Jewish upbringing -- horses and pyramids skirt the edge of taboo -- or simple coincidence. The exhibit's curator, Wendy Grossman, inclines toward the latter view, since as she notes while Egypt is part of Africa, Ray focused most of his attention on Sub-Saharan art, and putting the masks, headwear, and ceramics of that region in the context of Jewish religious history would have been "far from his conscious concerns."

Man Ray, African Art and the Modern Lens is showing through January 10. For more information, visit


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