Monday, November 16, 2009

...born Emmanuel Radnitzky in Philadelphia in 1890

In 1914, barely out of art school, Ray received one of his first significant reviews from a friend and colleague, the Belgian-Jewish Dadaist poet, sculptor and anarchist Adolf Wolff, who called Ray a “youthful alchemist forever in quest of the painter’s philosopher’s stone.” Readers of Gershom Scholem’s “Alchemy and Kabbalah,” or even more pertinently, “Kabbalah and Alchemy: An Essay on Common Archetypes” by Ray’s friend, Italian-Jewish art historian Arturo Schwarz, know that being an alchemist in art may be fully compatible with a Jewish identity.
Nor was being a Dadaist and Jew inherently contradictory for Ray’s generation. The abstraction and irrationality that the Dada movement typified attracted German-born Hans Richter; Romanian-Jewish painter Marcel Janco (born Iancu), who later founded the Israeli artists’ village Ein Hod, and Arthur Segal. Tristan Tzara (born Samuel Rosenstock), a fixture at the Cabaret Voltaire and, later, one of the “presidents of Dada,” was a close friend and frequent Ray photographic subject. Small wonder that in 1921, Henry Tyrrell, reactionary art critic of the newspaper the New York World, complained suspiciously that to be Dadaist meant to be “anti-everything — except anti-Semitic.”
(read more...)

No comments:

Post a Comment