Man Ray’s Shakespearean Equations: As You Like It

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Man Ray, As You Like It, 1948. Oil on canvas, mounted in the artist’s frame, 28 1/8 × 24 1/8 in. including frame. Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, Gift of Joseph H. Hirshhorn, 1966

As Man Ray launched into his Shakespearean Equations project, he reworked a canvas from 1940 titled Disillusion. Transforming the composition into As You Like It, the artist removed the disembodied hand, changed the globe-like sphere into a celestial form, and encased the floating orb in a rectangular trompe l’oeil frame. Although not inspired by any specific mathematical model, this painting opens a window into the evolution of the Shakespearean Equations series, as Man Ray re-conceptualized geometric forms and introduced them in new contexts.

Wendy Grossman, Exhibition Curator

From The Curator: Man Ray–Human Equations

Curator Wendy Grossman takes you through the galleries of Man Ray–Human Equations, explaining how the exhibition charts a path “from object to image, from photography to painting, from Surrealist Paris to golden-age Hollywood.”

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