Third Place Books is pleased to welcome cultural historian Mark Braude for what promises to be a fascinating presentation of his new book, Kiki Man Ray: Art, Love, and Rivalry in 1920s Paris, the first significant biography of Kiki de Montparnasse, whose incandescent life asks us to see the history of modern art in new ways. Braude will be in conversation with Matthew Fox-Amato, Associate Professor of History at the University of Idaho. This event is free and open to the public. Registration is required in advance.
Copies of Kiki Man Ray will be available for purchase at the store. This event will include a public signing and time for audience Q&A. Sustain our author series by purchasing a copy of the featured book!
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In freewheeling 1920s Paris, Kiki de Montparnasse captivated as a nightclub performer, sold out gallery showings of her paintings, starred in Surrealist films, and shared drinks and ideas with the likes of Jean Cocteau and Marcel Duchamp. Her best-selling memoir—featuring an introduction by Ernest Hemingway—made front-page news in France and was immediately banned in America. All before she turned thirty.
Kiki was once the symbol of bohemian Paris. But if she is remembered today, it is only for posing for several now-celebrated male artists, including Amedeo Modigliani and Alexander Calder, and especially photographer Man Ray. Why has Man Ray’s legacy endured while Kiki has become a footnote?
Kiki and Man Ray met in 1921 during a chance encounter at a café. What followed was an explosive decade-long connection, both professional and romantic, during which the couple grew and experimented as artists, competed for fame, and created many of the shocking images that cemented Man Ray’s reputation as one of the great artists of the modern era. The works they made together, including the Surrealist icons Le Violon d’Ingres and Noire et blanche, now set records at auction.
Charting their volatile relationship, award-winning historian Mark Braude illuminates for the first time Kiki’s seminal influence not only on Man Ray’s art, but on the culture of 1920s Paris and beyond. As provocative and magnetically irresistible as Kiki herself, Kiki Man Ray is the story of an exceptional life that will challenge ideas about artists and muses—and the lines separating the two.
"Exquisitely crafted… [S]harp and succinct… Kiki Man Ray rescues its protagonist from the dustbin of history and advocates eloquently for the vitality and importance of the world she helped to forge."
—Hamilton Cain, Wall Street Journal
"[A] heady romp through the galleries and nightclubs of interwar France."
"If the only 'Kiki de Montparnasse' you are aware of is a lingerie brand, please check out this top-notch, highly readable nonfiction from cultural historian Mark Braude right now."
—Cat Auer, A.V. Club
Mark Braude is a cultural historian and the author of The Invisible Emperor and Making Monte Carlo. He has been a visiting fellow at the American Library in Paris, a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford, an NEH Public Scholar, and the recipient of a Silvers Grant. He lives in Vancouver. (Photo credit: Claura Marie Braude)
Matthew Fox-Amato is Associate Professor of History at the University of Idaho. A scholar of visual culture, he is the author of Exposing Slavery: Photography, Human Bondage, and the Birth of Modern Visual Politics in America (Oxford, 2019). Exposing Slavery was a finalist for the Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize and named one of The Advocate’s “Must-Read Books on Race and Hate.” He is currently writing a history of the white house photographer.
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