Artwork Detail

Lampshade (Spiral), from Edition MAT
American, 1890–1976
Aluminum sheet sprayed white, 5/100
47 1/4 x 15 3/4 " (closed)
University purchase, Bixby Fund, and with funds from Paul Burlin and Constance Wittcoff, by exchange, 2013
WU 2013.0004
Man Ray Trust / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
The American artist Man Ray is best known for his experimental Surrealist photography. However, before moving to Paris in 1920, he exhibited Dadaist paintings and assisted readymades developed in close dialogue with Marcel Duchamp, whom he met in 1915. Lampshade (Spiral) is an iconic work that combines elements of the readymade with those of the mobile. The original sculpture, created in 1919, consisted of a strip of paper torn from a broken lampshade and attached to a stand previously used to hold a dress. Pleased by the resulting form, Man Ray decided to present it at the opening exhibition of the Société Anonyme, Inc., an interdisciplinary art institution founded by Katherine Dreier, Marcel Duchamp, and himself. Before the exhibition opened, however, a janitor disposed of the paper spiral, mistaking it for leftover wrapping for the stand. In 1964 Man Ray created this sculptural alternative in metal. Suspended from the ceiling, the spiral reverses, speeds up, or returns to stasis in response to currents in the air. [Permanent collection label, 2017]