An Impossible Equation

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Man Ray’s Equation (1947, oil on canvas, 16 × 20 1/8 in, private collection) alongside the drawing that preceded it.

Man Ray painted Equation (at left above) in Hollywood based on his 1939 drawing (at right). While the composition reveals recognizable elements from different mathematical models that appear in other Shakespearean Equation paintings, this canvas contains no suggestion of human entities or references to Shakespeare. It is also the only painting in the series that does not replicate any model in its entirety. Nonetheless, Equation notably foreshadows the Shakespearean Equations project, and Man Ray subsequently incorporated the canvas into the series.

Hanging Man Ray’s Obstruction

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Preparators install Man Ray’s Obstruction (1920/editioned replica 1964). Photos: Trish Waters

Installing Man Ray’s Obstruction, a carefully balanced mobile comprising over 60 wooden coat hangers, was no small feat for Phillips preparators. Check out these before and after shots.

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Installation view: Man Ray, Obstruction, 1920/editioned replica 1964. Assisted readymade: 63 wooden coat hangers, 43 5/16 x 47 1/4 x 47 1/4 in. The Israel Museum, Jerusalem. Gift of Beatrice (Buddy) Mayer, Chicago, to American Friends of the Israel Museum, B84.0027. © Man Ray Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY / ADAGP, Paris 2015. Photo © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem by Avshalom Avital.

Man Ray, Hiroshi Sugimoto, and Mathematical Models

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Installation view of Man Ray-Human Equations: A Journey from Mathematics to Shakespeare

Phillips staff were treated to a tour of Man Ray–Human Equations: A Journey from Mathematics to Shakespeare and Hiroshi Sugimoto: Conceptual Forms and Mathematical Models before they open to the public this Saturday. We snapped some photos along the way; here’s a preview!

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Exhibition Curator Wendy Grossman discusses Man Ray’s “Lampshade.”

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Director of the Center for the Study of Modern Art and Curator at Large Klaus Ottmann gives a preview tour to Phillips staff members of newly installed Hiroshi Sugimoto: Conceptual Forms and Mathematical Models