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Man Ray, the Surrealist Object, and Another Thing

Bill Brown, University of Chicago, an innovator of "thing theory," selects a piece by Man Ray, American painter, photographer, and maker of objects and films, as a starting point for his commentary.

In an essay for Critical Inquiry, Brown wrote: “If thing theory sounds like an oxymoron, then, it may not be because things reside in some balmy elsewhere beyond theory but because they lie both at hand and somewhere outside the theoretical field, beyond a certain limit, as a recognizable yet illegible remainder…”

This lecture is part of the Art Institute’s series Seeing Things, presented with partners the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and the Poetry Foundation, where we look at art, music, dance, and words for what they—and we—truly are.

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