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Alisa Baremboym, Leakage Industries: Clear Conduit, 2012, gelled emollient, unglazed ceramic, USB cable with gender changers, flash drive, floor flange, threaded pipe, screws, red pipe caps, 40 x 32 x 48". From “A Disagreeable Object.”

“A Disagreeable Object”

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Alisa Baremboym, Leakage Industries: Clear Conduit, 2012, gelled emollient, unglazed ceramic, USB cable with gender changers, flash drive, floor flange, threaded pipe, screws, red pipe caps, 40 x 32 x 48". From “A Disagreeable Object.”

“A Disagreeable Object” had a simple premise: Surrealism’s afoot. More difficult was the proof. Arguing for an avant-garde’s renewed relevance first entails defining the original movement—no easy task when that avant-garde was exceptionally long-lived and riven by factionalism from the start. Instead of honing a signature style, Surrealism stockpiled strategies, aesthetic techniques devised to trigger that exhilarating condition known alternately as the marvelous or uncanny. Curator Ruba Katrib resolved this preliminary dilemma by borrowing her exhibition title from a 1931 work by Alberto Giacometti. It’s an astute, even politic, choice, since Surrealism’s orthodox and dissident factions both laid claim to the wood, metal, and plaster premonitions Giacometti produced during his brief but fevered Surrealist phase.

An approach that “A Disagreeable Object” invites, then, is to

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