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Surrealism and National Identity in Mexico: Changing Perceptions, 1940-1968

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This article discusses the 1940 "International Surrealist Exhibition," a paradigmatic event in the history of Surrealism's transition between Old and New Worlds. Breton’s brainchild, the show claimed a large part

This article discusses the 1940 "International Surrealist Exhibition," a paradigmatic event in the history of Surrealism's transition between Old and New Worlds. Breton’s brainchild, the show claimed a large part of Mexico's national art canon as part of the transnational Surrealist cause. Proving controversial in a heavily nationalist art scene, the show continues to occupy a conflicted position in the historiography of Mexican art. Many describe it as the pivotal event that drove art in Mexico away from nationalism, while others trivialize its impact. In the 1969 book El Surrealismo y el Arte Fantástico de México, the most ambitious response to the 1940 show ever produced, art historian Ida Rodríguez-Prampolini takes the latter position. Much of what Breton and his circle viewed as surrealist in Mexican art, Rodríguez argues, was instead part of the country’s own “fantastic” tradition, in place long before Surrealism arrived. A chauvinist treatise on Mexican identity at first glance, this essay argues that the book instead is emblematic of a long history of anxious relationships between definitions of national identity and the practice of art history in post-revolutionary Mexico.

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  • 2009

The Journal of Surrealism and the Americas: Vol. 3 No. 1 (2009)

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The Journal of Surrealism and the Americas: Vol. 3 No. 1 (2009) - Table of Contents

“Surrealism and Post-Colonial Latin America: Introduction” by Susanne Baackmann and David Craven, p. i-xvii.

“‘My Painting

The Journal of Surrealism and the Americas: Vol. 3 No. 1 (2009) - Table of Contents

“Surrealism and Post-Colonial Latin America: Introduction” by Susanne Baackmann and David Craven, p. i-xvii.

“‘My Painting is an Act of Decolonization': An Interview with Wifredo Lam by Gerardo Mosquera (1980)” translation by Colleen Kattau and David Craven, p. 1-8.

“Surrealism and National Identity in Mexico: Changing Perceptions, 1940-1968” by Luis M.
Castañeda, p. 9-29. 

“Negotiating Surrealism: Carlos Mérida, Mexican Art and the Avant-garde” by Courtney Gilbert,  p. 30-50.

“1925 – Montevideo in the Orient: Lautréamont’s Ascent Among the Paris Surrealists” by Gabriel Götz Montua, p. 51-83.

“Paranoia and Hope: The Art of Juan Batlle Planas and its Relationship to the Argentine Technological Imagination of the 1930s and 1940s” by Michael Wellen, p. 84-106.

“Siqueiros and Surrealism?” by Irene Herner, p. 107-127.

“Review of 'Richard Spiteri, Exégèse de Dernier malheur dernière chance de Benjamin Péret'” by John Westbrook, p. 128-131. 

“Review of ‘Liliana Porter: Línea de Tiempo’ (Line of Time)” by Arden Decker-Parks, p. 132-134. 

“Review of ‘Zurcidos Invisibles: Alan Glass, Construcciones y Pinturas, 1950-2008’” by Susan Aberth, p. 135-138.

“Review of ‘David Hopkins, Dada’s Boys: Masculinity After Duchamp’” by Julian Jason Haladyn, p. 139-140. 

“Review of ‘Salvador Dalí: Liquid Desire’” by Ryan Johnston, p. 141-147.

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  • 2009

The Journal of Surrealism and the Americas: Vol. 8 No. 1 (2014)

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The Journal of Surrealism and the Americas: Vol. 8 No. 1 (2014) - Table of Contents

“Manuel Álvarez Bravo: Surrealism and Documentary Photography” by Ian Walker, p. 1-27. 

“(Sur)real or Unreal?: Antonin

The Journal of Surrealism and the Americas: Vol. 8 No. 1 (2014) - Table of Contents

“Manuel Álvarez Bravo: Surrealism and Documentary Photography” by Ian Walker, p. 1-27. 

“(Sur)real or Unreal?: Antonin Artaud in the Sierra Tarahumara of Mexico” by Lars Krutak, p. 28-50. 

“Surrealist Views, American Landscapes: Notes on Wolfgang Paalen’s Ruin Gazing” by Kent L. Dickson, p. 51-73.

“‘Don’t Forget I Come From the Tropics’: Reconsidering the Surrealist Sculpture of Maria Martins” by Michael R. Taylor, p. 74-89.

‘Le centre du milieu’: Matta and the Exploding Dome” by Denise Birkhofer, p. 90-104. 

“Edward James and Plutarco Gastélum in Xilita: Critical Paranoia in the Mexican Jungle” by Irene Herner, p. 105-123.

“Review of Ellen Landau, ‘Mexico and American Modernism’” by Luis M. Castañeda, p. 124-126. 

“‘Surrealist Ghosts and Spectrality in Surrealist Ghostliness’ by Katharine Conley” by Martine Antle, p. 127-129. 

“Review of Roger Rothman, ‘Tiny Surrealism: Salvador Dalí and the Aesthetics of the Small’” by Jonathan S. Wallis, p. 130-135.

“Review of ‘Late Surrealism’: The Menil Collection, May 24- August 25, 2013” by Rachel Hooper, p. 136-139.

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  • 2014