“Surrealism 1936”

Zabriskie Gallery

“The surrealist assumes that one can change the world” (C. W E. Bigsby). This show recreated the Surrealism of exactly fifty years ago, 1936, a year of triumph for the movement exemplified by three major shows in Paris, London, and New York, and a year after the group’s critical denouncement of Communism, the means, they had believed, by which the world could be changed. The concept of dialectical materialism rested in the Surrealist object, which dominated Surrealist practice in that year. Such objects comprised the most compelling part of this exhibit, which also included photographs, collages, and historical documents.

It was a pleasure to see again famous assemblages such as Claude Cahun’s hairy eyeball (her Object, ca. 1936) and Salvador Dali’s remarkably contemporary- looking Monument à Kant, 1936, to which arte povera owes a debt; and, to paraphrase Francis Picabia, to see again in

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