THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW, 100 NOTABLE BOOKS OF 2022 *

* THE NEW YORKER, ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF 2022 *

HARPER’S BAZAAR 100, 2022 *

ARTNET, ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF 2022 *

OCTAVIAN REPORT, ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF 2022 *

Exuberantly entertaining. -New York Times

[A] heady romp through the galleries and nightclubs of interwar France. – Vogue

Exquisitely crafted. -Wall Street Journal

[A] splendid new biography. -Associated Press

Vibrant prose as beguiling as Kiki herself. –Toronto Star

Absorbing and insightful. -Boston Globe

[Kiki] finally gets her literary due. -Hollywood Reporter

Spirited and thoroughly researched. –Times Literary Supplement

Snappy prose…a dynamic reframing. -Mail on Sunday

Informed and atmospheric. -Sydney Morning Herald

A lively study. –Times (UK)

A vivid evocation of Kiki the performer. -Spectator 

A rich, affectionate look at bohemian Paris. —Kirkus Reviews

Top-notch, highly readable nonfiction. –A.V. Club

A Roaring 20s jewel. -Air Mail

Compelling. -Los Angeles Review of Books

As irresistible as it is overdue. – Chicago Review of Books

[A] comprehensive page-turner. –Departures

Robust cultural history. -National Book Review

A dazzling portrait of Paris’s forgotten artist and cabaret star, whose incandescent life asks us to see the history of modern art in new ways.

 

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 30.

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 Modigliani and Calder, but especially for 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 auctions.

Charting their volatile relationship, 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.

MARK BRAUDE is the author of Kiki Man Ray, The Invisible Emperor, and Making Monte Carlo. His books have been translated (or are being translated) into Czech, Dutch, German, Italian, Korean, Polish, and Spanish. Kiki Man Ray was named to Best of 2022 lists by the New York Times, The New Yorker, and Harper’s Bazaar. The Invisible Emperor won a ‘Coup de Coeur’ recognition at the American Library in Paris Book Awards and was named to Best of 2018 lists by The Seattle Times and The Oregonian.

Mark has been a visiting fellow at the American Library in Paris and a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford, as well as a lecturer in Stanford’s departments of Art History, French, and History. His work has appeared in The Globe and Mail, The Los Angeles Times, New Republic, and elsewhere, and he has been invited to speak at venues ranging from Christie’s New York, to the US Department of State, to the Volkswagen Innovation Lab. He has been named an NEH Public Scholar and received grants from the Robert B. Silvers Foundation, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the de Groot Foundation, among others.

Mark holds a BA from UBC, an MA from NYU’s Institute of French Studies, and a PhD in History and Visual Studies from USC. He was the curator of Speed and Power at the Cantor Museum, an exhibit that explored how trains, planes, and automobiles have shaped modern urban life and how artists ranging from Andy Warhol to Ilse Bing to Hiroshi Sugimoto have integrated the interrelated themes of speed and power into their work. Mark lives in Vancouver with his wife and their two daughters.

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