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(Published on ARTSCLASH)

As we wrote in our rather scathing review of the National Portrait Gallery’s latest show, it is desperately flawed. However, that is not to say we didn’t learn a few important lessons from it, like…

1. Marcel Duchamp was quite hot.

Fig_2[1]Slightly off-centre gaze. Thoughtful smouldering look. This portrait’s gain really is a Facebook selfie’s loss. Founder of conceptual art AND cute. What’s not to love?

2. Surrealists look disappointingly normal

riwkin_brick_anna-groupe_surr%C3%A9aliste~OMab3300~10623_20100317_U003_1[1]Not sure what I was expecting here, but it was definitely crazier than this. And definitely features a goat with vacuum cleaners for legs. I mean, Tzara is trying with the hair, but generally poor show, guys.

Also, this is one of the many snapshots featured in this show which although interesting in their way are hardly great art.

3. Man Ray invented solarisation

solarisedAmongst these glorified family photo album moments, though, there are moments where you see, briefly, Man Ray’s genius. So much genius, in fact, that he actually invented a photographic technique. Although now just one of the very badly used Photoshop effects, he did really marvelous work with it, and a thousand ’60s acid trips have him to thank for the go-to technique for psychedelic album art…

4. Man Ray is HILARIOUS (probably.)

Man[1]HALF A BEARD! A whole beard is more usual! The card…

Sarcasm aside, there’s something about the scary serious eyes and ridiculous scenarios that cracks me up. Speaking of the eyes though, perhaps the most important lesson of all that we’ve learned…

5. Man Ray has the face of a pissed off owl

owlrayMan Ray? More like Owl Ray….

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