The New Yorker
June 05, 2006
Even if Man Ray's portraits of men are not his most inventive or influential photographic work, this roundup of nearly forty of them has the focus and punch of a compact museum show. It helps, of course, that the subjects - including Picasso, Hemingway, Cocteau, Dali, Giacometti, Satie, and Proust on his deathbed - are far from anonymous. Some of the images are so forbiddingly formal they could be parodies of stuffed-shirt portraiture, but others provide a glimpse of bohemian outrageousness: Duchamp vamping as Rrose Selavy, the transvestite trapeze artist Barbette adjusting his hose, and the photographer himself in a starfish-studded turban - a madman magician.