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Exquisite Corpse: Surrealism and the Black Dahlia Murderby Mark Nelson and Sarah Hudson Bayliss
"[A] strange book, sketchy but unforgettable, tendentious but instructive....In linking pictures by Man Ray, Duchamp, and Copley, the authors have made us think anew about art and murder. And here's the rub: the intellectual daring of such pictures cannot quite be separated from a torturer's coolness....Exquisite Corpse creeps up on you: if you have the patience to let its leaves fall, eventually an autumnal mood gathers." David Thomson, The New Republic (read the entire New Republic review
Synopses & Reviews
Bridging the worlds of high art and true crime, Exquisite Corpse presents a unique perspective on the most notorious unsolved murder case of the twentieth century — the bizarre 1947 killing of Elizabeth Short, better known as the Black Dahlia murder.
Unlike previous books on the Black Dahlia, Exquisite Corpse provides a detailed and compelling explanation for the unusual nature of this gruesome killing. Exquisite Corpse reveals, through visual comparisons and historical research, what seem to be profound connections between surrealist art and the Black Dahlia case-both before and after the murder. The evidence includes startling crime-scene and autopsy photographs of Elizabeth Short, rarely seen photographs by Man Ray, and surprising comparisons with a wide range of surrealist artworks. A "web of connections" indicates a direct link or one degree of separation between the alleged killer and a host of influential people in the arts and film industry in Los Angeles in the 1930s and 40s. A timeline provides a revealing chronology of events surrounding the murder.
Exquisite Corpse is a must-read for anyone interested in true crime, art history, Hollywood noir, and the infamous Black Dahlia case.
Presenting the most compelling explanation yet for the bizarre nature of the Black Dahlia murder, this volume includes never-before published crime-scene photographs and links the alleged killer to a vast array of influential people.
About the Author
Sarah Bayliss has written on art and culture for ArtNews, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, and Conde Nast Traveler, among other publications. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Mark Nelson, is the design director of Anthony McCall Associates in New York City, where he designs books for prominent museums, galleries, and artists. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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