Revolving Doors I (Mime)
Pochoir print on paper
Donated by the Michael Berger Gallery
Based on a set of paper collages from 1916 and 1917, these images were reproduced as a small series of prints in 1926. This image, Mime, is the first of 10 prints in the “Revolving Doors” series. When it debuted, the entire set was displayed on a hinged, revolving stand. This stand looked like a revolving door. The movement of the prints as they were rotated on the stand created unique visual effects. It created the illusion of many objects moving in a small space.
Man Ray was born Emmanuel Radnitzky to a Jewish family in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The family changed their last name to Ray to avoid American antisemitism. Ray attempted to resist stereotypes in his personal and professional life. He kept his background separate from his work and worked in many artistic media. In 1921, he moved to Paris. There, he was the only American to play a major role in both the Surrealist and Dada art movements.
Ray’s refusal to be categorized illustrates the diversity of Jewish life. In 1940, he had to leave Europe to escape Nazi persecution. This shows that all Jews were vulnerable to the race-based antisemitism of the Nazis. Fame, religious observance, and citizenship did not make a difference.