This paper compares two simultaneous exhibitions of Surrealist painters that took place in the Winter of 1965 in New York, arguing that these exhibitions helped to re-write the legacy of Surrealism in the context of contemporary art of the 1960s. Through a consideration of the reception of Rene Magritte and Salvador Dali, this paper illustrates how the vastly different institutional models of the Museum of Modern Art and the Gallery of Modern Art reframed figurative Surrealism for both contemporary audiences as well as the history of modern art.
This paper works to characterize the relationship between Surrealism’s art, its critical reception and its popularity in American culture, a relationship often mediated by Salvador Dalí’s public embodiment of the movement. Alfred Barr’s 1936 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art introduced a broad view of Surrealism to a receptive American audience. While Surrealism’s investigation into the irrationality of everyday life resonated with the American public, it was Dalí who ensured that the movement stayed in the spotlight, designing among other things, department store windows, magazine covers, and several series of advertisements; by 1939, when Dalí and his dealer Julien Levy promoted a Surrealist Pavilion at the New York World’s Fair, it made sense that the pavilion was located not in the Fine Arts section of the Fair, but in the Amusements Arena. The same year, despite, or perhaps, because of Dalí’s flamboyant articulation of the infiltration of market forces and mass media, he was also recognized as dramatizing the constraints of the circumscribed art world which had just begun to feel the influences of formalism. This paper argues that Dalí posed a challenge that placed Surrealism’s mediation between art and life at the center of the making of an American artistic culture.
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
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.
“Fantasyland or Wackyland? Animation and Surrealism in 1930s America” by Jorgelina Orfila and Francisco Ortega Grimaldo, p. 1-19.
“El único punto de resistencia: Cultural, Linguistic and Medial Transgressions in the Surrealist Journal VVV” by Andrea Gremels, p. 20-41.
“Chicago Surrealism, Herbert Marcuse, and the Affirmation of the ‘Present and Future Viability of Surrealism’” by Abigail Susik, p. 42-62.
“Surrealist Associations and Mexico’s Precariat in Roberto Wong’s París D.F.” by Kevin M. Anzzolin, p. 63-80.
“Book Review: New Books on Dorothea Tanning” by Katharine Conley, p. 81-83.
“Exhibition Review: ‘Photography and the Surreal Imagination’” by Sandra Zalman, p. 84-89.
“Exhibition Review: ‘Monsters and Myths: Surrealism and War in the 1930s and 1940s’” by Jonathan S. Wallis, p. 86-93
The Journal of Surrealism and the Americas: Vol. 5 No. 1 (2011) - Table of Contents
“Women in the Surrealist Conversation: Introduction” by Katharine Conley, p. i-xiv.
“Temple of the Word: (Post-) Surrealist Women Artists’ Literary Production in America and Mexico” by Georgiana M.M. Colvile, p. 1-18.
“Leonora Carrngton, Mexico, and the Culture of Death” by Jonathan P. Eburne, p. 19-32.
“The Lost Secret: Frida Kahlo and the Surrealist Imaginary” by Alyce Mahon, p. 33-54.
“Art, Science and Exploration: Rereading the Work of Remedios Varo” by Natalya Frances Lusty, p. 55-76.
“Mary Low’s Feminist Reportage and the Politics of Surrealism” by Emily Robins Sharpe, p. 77-97.
“Waste Management: Hitler’s Bathtub” by Laurie Monahan, p. 98-119.
“Kay Sage’s ‘Your Move’ and/as Autobiography” by Elisabeth F. Sherman, p. 120-133.
“Dorothea Tanning and her Gothic Imagination” by Victoria Carruthers, p. 134-158.
“The Colour of My Dreams: The Surrealist Revolution in Art” by Steven Harris, p. 159-161.
‘Alias Man Ray: The Art of Reinvention’: The Jewish Museum, November 15, 2009 - March 14, 2010” by Lewis Kachur, p. 162-167.
“Review of Gail Levin, ‘Lee Krasner: A Biography’” by Sandra R. Zalman, p. 168-171.