MAN RAY (1890-1976) AND WILLIAM NELSON COPLEY (1919-1996)
MAN RAY (1890-1976) AND WILLIAM NELSON COPLEY (1919-1996)
MAN RAY (1890-1976) AND WILLIAM NELSON COPLEY (1919-1996)
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MAN RAY (1890-1976) AND WILLIAM NELSON COPLEY (1919-1996)
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THE SURREALIST WORLD OF ROSALIND GERSTEN JACOBS AND MELVIN JACOBS
MAN RAY (1890-1976) AND WILLIAM NELSON COPLEY (1919-1996)

Indestructible Object (Think)

Details
MAN RAY (1890-1976) AND WILLIAM NELSON COPLEY (1919-1996)
Indestructible Object (Think)
signed and dated 'Man Ray 1966' (on the paper element); signed 'CPLY' (on the canvas element)
pen and black ink on paper by Man Ray and oil on canvas by William Copley affixed with a paperclip to vintage metronome
8 3⁄4 x 4 3⁄8 x 4 3⁄8 in (22.2 x 11 x 11 cm.)
Executed in New York in 1966 at a dinner party in the Jacobs home
Provenance
Gift from the artists to the late owners, 1966.
Exhibited
Miami, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sweet Dreams and Nightmares: Dada and Surrealism from the Rosalind and Melvin Jacobs Collection, March-May 2000, no. 25 (illustrated in color; titled Think).
New York, Pace/MacGill Gallery, The Long Arm of Coincidence: Selections from the Rosalind and Melvin Jacobs Collection, April-May 2009 (illustrated in color).
Houston, The Menil Collection and Milan, Fondazione Prada, William N. Copley, February 2016-August 2017, no. 304.
Post lot text
Andrew Strauss and Timothy Baum of the Man Ray Expertise Committee have confirmed the authenticity of this work and that it will be included in the catalogue raisonné of the Objects and Sculptures of Man Ray, currently in preparation.

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Lot Essay

Indestructible Object (Think) was created among friends at the Jacobs apartment in New York. In 1966, they hosted a dinner party in Man Ray’s honor. In attendance were William and Noma Copley, Man Ray and Juliet. For the occasion, Roz set the table with a metronome as a center piece. Inspired by one of Man Ray’s most celebrated readymade subjects, Indestructible Object (Think) is a clever collaboration between Man Ray and William Copley facilitated by the Jacobses. For this version, Man Ray drew an eye in pen and ink on a piece of paper and affixed it to the pendulum of the metronome; Copley painted his THINK on a piece of canvas and attached it with a paperclip below the eye. The elements were iconic for each artist: for Man Ray, the eye was inspired by the original version of the object, while for Copley, THINK had great personal significance. When William and Noma Copley married in Paris (with Man Ray as his best man), the clerk had a sign behind him with the word THINK emblazoned on it. Together, the two elements form the phrase, Eye Think.

The metronome is the basis for two of Man Ray’s most celebrated objects: Object to Be Destroyed (1923) and Perpetual Motif (1971). Man Ray first utilized the metronome for a readymade in 1923, around the same time that Marcel Duchamp had finished his Large Glass. The first version of the metronome subject was titled Object to Be Destroyed and included a cut-out photograph of Lee Miller’s eye attached to the pendulum. Later, on the back of a related drawing from 1932, he wrote: “Cut out the eye from the photograph of one who has been loved but is seen no more. Attach the eye to the pendulum of a metronome and regulate the weight to suit the tempo desired. Keep going to the limit of endurance. With a hammer well aimed, try to destroy the whole at a single blow” (D. Tashjian, A Boatload of Mad Men: Surrealism and the American Avant-Garde, New York, 1995, p. 107). At the 1957 Exposition Dada at the Galerie de l'Institut in Paris, a group of students demonstrating against Dada destroyed the object, thus carrying out Man Ray's initial instructions. When the insurance company representative came for the reimbursement he "voiced his suspicion that I might, with this money, buy a whole stock of metronomes. That was my intention, I replied, however I assured him of one thing: I'd change the title" (Man Ray, Self Portrait, Boston, 1988, pp. 306-307).

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