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Jonathan Santlofer:  The Man Ray Series


The Montclair Art Museum opened a new exhibition, Jonathan Santlofer:  The Man Ray Series on February 2, 2003.  On view in the Museum's Small Gallery through May 18, 2003, the exhibition is a survey of exquisite graphite drawings by this internationally acclaimed artist. Santlofer's The Man Ray Series is comprised of eight of Santlofer's meticulous, trompe l'oeil renditions of elements adapted from Man Ray's provocative, surrealistic photographs.  Combined with photographic self-portraits of Man Ray, these highly refined, sophisticated juxtapositions confound the viewer into accepting the fictitious illusions that are so convincingly presented.  Bordering on obsession, Santlofer's fascination with Man Ray stems from the multi-faceted artist's engagement with a variety of mediums, including painting, photography, sculpture, and writing.  According to Santlofer, Man Ray "was everything, a truly consummate artist, a paradigm for the contemporary artist." The Man Ray Series was curated by Gail Stavitsky, Chief Curator of the Montclair Art Museum. (left: Jonathan Santlofer,. Le Baiser (The Kiss, ca. 1932), 2000, Pencil on paper, Private Collection)

Santlofer was born in New York City and earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at Boston University.  He returned to New York to earn his Master of Fine Arts degree from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.  Santlofer's work has been on view in more than one hundred solo and group exhibitions, both nationally and internationally.  His work is in the collections of New York's Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Tokyo's Institute of Contemporary Art, and several Fortune 500 companies.  In articles and reviews over the course of his career, Santlofer's images have been described as "dramatic, supercharged, lush and witty," and as "creating its own synthesis of modernism, combining traces of Van Gogh, Matisse, Cubism, Futurism and Expressionism."  The artist is the recipient of numerous awards, and serves on the board of Yaddo, the oldest arts colony in the United States.  He resides in New York City.

In September of 2002, Santlofer became a recognized author as well, making a stunning literary debut with The Death Artist, published by HarperCollins. In this novel, which met with acclaim from both the art and literary worlds, Santlofer uses his knowledge of art to create an intriguingly horrific mystery tale that tours New York and the art world. On Sunday, March 23, the Museum will host a booksigning by Santlofer, who will read from The Death Artist, and discuss the genesis of the novel in relation to his art.

An exhibition catalogue accompanying Jonathan Santlofer:  The Man Ray Series includes an essay written by Gail Stavitsky, MAM's Chief Curator, and is available at MAM's Museum Store.  This catalogue was made possible by a gift from Angel and Curt Schade; additional support for the exhibition and catalogue was provided by Gerrit and Sydie Lansing.  Jim Kemper Fine Art, New York generously provided framing for several exhibition works. Jonathan Santlofer:  The Man Ray Series is a complementary exhibition accompanying Conversion to Modernism: The Early Work of Man Ray, on view through August 3rd.  Conversion to Modernism:  The Early Work of Man Ray is co-curated by scholar Francis M. Naumann, Ph.D. and Gail Stavitsky Ph.D., Chief Curator of the Montclair Art Museum.  The exhibition will feature 75 paintings and works on paper made by Man Ray between 1907 and 1924 -- the years Man Ray lived and worked in an artist colony in the Ridgefield, New Jersey environs. Conversion to Modernism includes expressive figure studies and Cézannesque landscapes, Cubist still lifes, and a pivotal series of "imaginary landscapes" based on Man Ray's recollections of a New Jersey camping trip in 1913. The exhibition will also feature recently discovered photographs taken by Man Ray in Ridgefield, and other rare documentary materials, including copies of the various magazines Man Ray designed and hand printed during his New Jersey years.  Conversion to Modernism will tour to the Georgia Museum of Art, Athens, Georgia from September 20, 2003 through November 30, 2003, and the Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, Illinois from January 23, 2004 through April 4, 2004.

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