ASRL / PERPETUAL 2014
 
Case Open and/or Unsolved:
Étant donnés, the Black Dahlia Murder, and Marcel Duchamp’s Life of Crime
 
by   Wallis, Jonathan
Published:  2005   Print    Post Your Comments
Updated :  01/10/08 Like toutfait on  Facebook,   Follow us on  Twitter
 

Published:  03/30/05   Print     Post Your Comments
Updated :  01/10/08 Like toutfait on  Facebook,   Follow us on  Twitter
Readers' Comments
As the author of this article, I wish to make it clear that this version is not the official version that was published by the Rutgers Art Review, vol. 20 (2003: 7-24). That version contains a paragraph that is missing in this online version. Numerous attempts on my part to have tout-fait correct this matter have failed, so I include it here as an addendum to the text. In the RAR published version it appears on pages 10-11, between the paragraph ending in "crime magazines" and the paragraph beginning with "On his way back." It is especially important because it is a passage involving some research on the Dahlia case that appeared when the article was at press. After desperately pleading with the editors at RAR they allowed me to add a short paragraph to the essay. Many readers have accessed this essay via tout-fait, and have expressed surprise at my lack of knowledge of the work of Steve Hodel, when in fact I was aware and did include as much as I could about his theory in the essay (especially since it strengthened my views). It is included below: Compelling evidence has recently surfaced that strengthens the connection of Man Ray to the Black Dahlia murder, as well as his possible exposure to the particulars of the crime. In a new book, Black Dahlia Avenger: The True Story, former LAPD detective Steve Hodel claims that his own father, George Hodel, was the Black Dahlia killer.1 Recently, a former LAPD detective named Steven Hodel submitted a manuscript to the District Attorney that suggests his own father, George Hodel, was the killer (Hodel’s conclusions are still unverified, officially, by the District Attorney). Through photographic evidence, witness corroboration, and handwriting analysis, Hodel convincingly argues that his father, a doctor with surgical skills, was intimately involved with Elizabeth Short and murdered her in an act of vengeful retribution. What is important in the context of this discussion is Steve Hodel’s information concerning Man Ray and his father, who socialized together regularly at the Hodel residence and at other venues in Hollywood during the years surrounding the crime.2 Not only did the two men share an interest in surrealism and the writings of the Marquis de Sade; they were both photographers, and on at least one occasion actually collaborated (with George Hodel as the model and Man Ray the photographer).3 As Steve Hodel suggests, the artistic and philosophical similarities between Ray and his father illustrates their “shared vision of violent sexual fantasy.”4 How close were these two individuals? While we cannot be certain about their level of intimacy, it remains suspicious (in my mind) that Man Ray left Hollywood shortly after the murder, possibly fearing an association with Hodel. Interestingly, one of Steve Hodel’s theories is that his father posed the body of the Black Dahlia to reflect the position of the figure in Man Ray’s The Minotaur from 1936, and extended the victim’s lips by tearing her cheeks, echoing the artist’s 1933-34 work, The Lovers.5 Thus, the author suggests that the murderer produced an “homage” to his mentor that was actual rather than artistic. 1. Steve Hodel, Black Dahlia Avenger: The True Story (New York: Arcade Publishing, 2003). 2. Steve Hodel, Black Dahlia Avenger: The True Story (New York: Arcade Publishing, 2003), 3. Steve Hodel, Black Dahlia Avenger: The True Story (New York: Arcade Publishing, 2003), 87-89, 242. 4. Steve Hodel, Black Dahlia Avenger: The True Story (New York: Arcade Publishing, 2003), 242. 5. Steve Hodel, Black Dahlia Avenger: The True Story (New York: Arcade Publishing, 2003), 88.
By Jonathan Wallis | 09/14/09

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