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Notes for a Historiography of Surrealism in America, or the Reinterpretation of the Repressed

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The critical fate of surrealist visual art in America fluctuates based on the value ascribed to it by critics of contemporary art. Specifically, its mid-century dismissal by Clement Greenberg as

The critical fate of surrealist visual art in America fluctuates based on the value ascribed to it by critics of contemporary art. Specifically, its mid-century dismissal by Clement Greenberg as retrograde, academic kitsch, condemned it to several decades of irrelevancy; and, in a direct challenge to Greenberg, the critics and scholars of the 1980s and 90s, in particular October group members Rosalind Krauss and Hal Foster, rehabilitated Surrealism and returned it to contemporary relevance.

This critical fall and rise provokes some interesting questions. Did the modernist rejection and post-modernist resurrection of Surrealism emerge from the inherent postmodernism of the movement itself, or from the agendas of the respective critics? For example, by privileging Georges Bataille and the dissonant Surrealists over André Breton, and a Lacanian theoretical framework over a Freudian one, did Krauss reveal the repressed within Surrealism, or did she reconfigure it in light of contemporary interest in transgression, abjection and the de-centered subject? Can this vision of Surrealism be reconciled with Breton’s romantic idealism and belief in an absolute?

While previous issues of JSA have explored the intersections of Surrealism and ethnography, photography, Latin America and women, this issue assembles various essays that look at the reception of Surrealism in the U.S. and its continued presence in criticism, art, collecting and anthropology.

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  • 2012

The Journal of Surrealism and the Americas: Vol. 1 No. 1 (2007)

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The Journal of Surrealism and the Americas: Vol. 1 No. 1 (2007) - Table of Contents

"Introduction to the Journal" by Samantha Kavky, Claudia Mesch, and Amy H. Winter, p. i-iii.

"Anti-Surrealist

The Journal of Surrealism and the Americas: Vol. 1 No. 1 (2007) - Table of Contents

"Introduction to the Journal" by Samantha Kavky, Claudia Mesch, and Amy H. Winter, p. i-iii.

"Anti-Surrealist Cross-Word Puzzles: Breton, Dalí and Print in Wartime America" by Julia Pine, p. 1-29.

"William Carlos Williams’ A Novelette: an American Counterproposal to French Surrealism" by Céline Mansanti, p. 30-43

"The Vernacular as Vanguard: Alfred Barr, Salvador Dalí, and the U.S. Reception of Surrealism in the 1930s" by Sandra Zalman, p. 44-67

"Ben Cobb, Anarchy and Alchemy: The Films of Alejandro Jodorowsky" by David Church, p. 68-71

"Tamayo: A Modern Icon Reinterpreted" by Marta Julia Clapp, p. 72-76

"Robert Desnos, Surrealism, and 'Poetic Politics'" by Terri J. Gordon, p. 77-80

"Dali and the Specter of Cinema" by Frédérique Camille Joseph-Lowery, p. 81-84

"Julia Kelly's Art, Ethnography and the Life of Objects: Paris, c. 1925-1935" by Susan Power, p. 85-90

"The Janus-faced Legacy of Joseph Beuys" by Tatjana Myoko von Prittwitz, p. 91-93

"A.J. Meek, Clarence John Laughlin: Prophet Without Honor" by Jeffrey Ian Ross, p. 94-98

 

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  • 2007

The Journal of Surrealism and the Americas: Vol. 2 No. 1 (2008)

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The Journal of Surrealism and the Americas: Vol. 2 No. 1 (2008) - Table of Contents

“Surrealism and Ethnography: Introduction” by Amy H. Winter, p. i-vi. 

“Totemic Landscapes and Vanishing Cultures Through

The Journal of Surrealism and the Americas: Vol. 2 No. 1 (2008) - Table of Contents

“Surrealism and Ethnography: Introduction” by Amy H. Winter, p. i-vi. 

“Totemic Landscapes and Vanishing Cultures Through the Eyes of Wolfgang Paalen and Kurt Seligmann” by Marie Mauzé, p. 1-24.

“Surrealist Visions of Pre-Columbian Mesoamerica and the Legacy of Colonialism: the Good, the (Revalued) Bad, and the Ugly” by Keith Jordan, p. 25-63.

“Surrealism and Inuit Art: The Fascination of the Far North” by Florence Duchemin-Pelletier, p. 64-94.

“Bound Objects and Blurry Boundaries: Surrealist Display and (Anti)Nationalism” by Susan Power, p. 95-113.

“Man Ray’s Lost and Found Photographs: Arts of the Americas in Context” by Wendy Grossman, p. 114-139.

“T.J. Demos, The Exiles of Marcel Duchamp” by Bradley Bailey, p. 140-144. 

“The Dalí Renaissance: New Perspectives on His Life and Art after 1940 and Danser Gala: L’Art Bouffe de Salvador Dalí” by Mary Ann Caws, p. 145-146.

“Review of ‘The Art of Lee Miller’: Victoria and Albert Museum, 2007” by Peter Barberie, p. 147-151.

“Frida Kahlo in Philadelphia: Life and Death” by Samantha Kavky, p. 152-156.

“Thinking the ‘Post-Indian’: Remix: New Modernities in a Post-Indian World” by Claudia Mesch, p. 157-161.

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  • 2008

The Journal of Surrealism and the Americas: Vol. 4 No. 1 (2010)

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The Journal of Surrealism and the Americas: Vol. 4 No. 1 (2010) - Table of Contents

“Out of Field (Fuera de campo): Marcel Duchamp in Buenos Aires” by Graciela Speranza, p.

The Journal of Surrealism and the Americas: Vol. 4 No. 1 (2010) - Table of Contents

“Out of Field (Fuera de campo): Marcel Duchamp in Buenos Aires” by Graciela Speranza, p. 1-14. 

“Légitime défense: From Communism and Surrealism to Caribbean Self-Definition” by Lori Cole, p. 15-30. 

“Remedios Varo's Mexican Drawings” by Rosa Berland, p. 30-42.

“Bee Dreaming: the Surreal Odysseys Behind Alan Glass’ Wunderkabinetts” by Gloria Orenstein, p. 43-59.

“Review of Patricia Allmer, ‘René Magritte: Beyond Painting’ by Terri Geis, p. 60-63.

“Review of Eric Ratcliffe, ‘Ithell Colquhoun: Pioneer Surrealist, Artist, Occultist, Writer and Poet’” by Elisabeth Sherman, p. 64-68. 

“‘Arshile Gorky: A Retrospective’: Issues of Identity and Camouflage” by Samantha Kavky, p. 69-72.

“Review of Catherine Millet, ‘Dalí and Me’” by Jonathan S. Wallis, p. 73-77.

“Maria Martins: the Open Secret of Étant donnés. Review of ‘Marcel Duchamp. Étant donnés’” by Frédérique Joseph-Lowery, p. 78-85. 

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  • 2010

The Journal of Surrealism and the Americas: Vol. 10 No. 1 (2019)

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The Journal of Surrealism and the Americas: Vol. 10 No. 1 (2019) - Table of Contents

“Introduction to the Special Issue on Max Ernst” by Samantha Kavky, p. 1-6. 

“Napoleon in the

The Journal of Surrealism and the Americas: Vol. 10 No. 1 (2019) - Table of Contents

“Introduction to the Special Issue on Max Ernst” by Samantha Kavky, p. 1-6. 

“Napoleon in the Wilderness: The Transmogrification of a Picture by Max Ernst” by Martin Schieder, p. 7-23.

“Seeing Through an (American) Temperament: Max Ernst’s Microbes, 1946-1953” by Danielle M. Johnson, p. 24-45. 

“Max Ernst and the Aesthetic of Commercial Tourism: Max Among Some of His Favorite Dolls” by Carolyn Butler Palmer, p, 46-68.

“Arizona Dream: Maxime Rossi Meets Max Ernst” by Julia Drost, p. 69-83.

“Glowing Like Phosphorus: Dorothea Tanning and the Sedona Western” by Catriona McAra, p. 84-105.

“Conference Review: ‘SURREALISMS: the Inaugural Conference of the International Society for the Study of Surrealism’” by Kristen Strange, p. 106-110. 

“Exhibition Review of ‘A Home for Surrealism: Fantastic Painting in Midcentury Chicago’” by Jennifer R. Cohen, p. 111-114.

“Exhibition Review: ‘Native American Art at Documenta 14 and the Issue of Democracy’” by Claudia Mesch, p. 115-120.   

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  • 2019

The Journal of Surrealism and the Americas: Vol. 6 No. 1 (2012)

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The Journal of Surrealism and the Americas: Vol. 6 No. 1 (2012) - Table of Contents

“Notes for a Historiography of Surrealism in America, or the Reinterpretation of the Repressed” by Samantha

The Journal of Surrealism and the Americas: Vol. 6 No. 1 (2012) - Table of Contents

“Notes for a Historiography of Surrealism in America, or the Reinterpretation of the Repressed” by Samantha Kavky, p. i-ix.

“What Makes a Collection Surrealist?: Twentieth-Century Cabinets of Curiosities in Paris and Houston” by Katharine Conley, p. 1-23.

Dalí, Magritte, and Surrealism’s Legacy, New York c. 1965” by Sandra Zalman, p. 24-38.

“‘What Makes Indians Laugh’: Surrealism, Ritual, and Return in Steven Yazzie and Joseph Beuys” by Claudia Mesch, p. 39-60. 

“Cracking up an Alligator: Ethnography, Juan Downey’s Videos, and Irony” by Hjorleifur Jonsson, p. 61-86.

“Review of Effie Rentzou, ‘Littérature Malgré Elle: Le Surréalisme et la Transformation du Littéraire’” by Pierre Taminiaux, p. 87-90.

“In Wonderland: the Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists in Mexico and the United States” by Susan L. Aberth, p. 91-94.

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  • 2012