A radically new history of French surrealism by a brilliant young art historian.In contrast to the orthodox view that surrealism slid into a terminal decline after the 1930s, Alyce Mahon shows that the movement was instead transformed in the war and postwar years as the Surrealists redefined and extended their interests in social crisis, political engagement, transgressive art, myth, the occult, and the erotic.Through "the politics of Eros" the Surrealists attempted to shatter the repression intrinsic to bourgeois society by appealing to individual desire as a route to political consciousness and action. Dr. Mahon analyzes the conception and organization of their four international exhibitions from 1938 to 1965, showing how they evoked a three-dimensional world of dream, desire, and sexual pleasure.This intellectual tour de force draws on interviews with such key artists as Jean-Jacques Lebel, Mimi Parent, and Jean Benoit, and uses primary sources to advance our knowledge of the work of the better-known Surrealists, from Hans Bellmer to Meret Oppenheim. The Second World War, the Algerian War, and May 1968 are related in new ways to surrealism as a major countercultural force throughout this critical period in French history. By documenting the ways in which the Surrealists used sound, lighting, special effects, and performance art to create a living, theatrical environment, Dr. Mahon sheds new light on topics central to understanding art in our time.Illustrated with key works of art as well as rare contemporary photographs and documents, the book is destined to become a classic work on one of the most popular and controversial art movements of the twentieth century. 189 illustrations in color and black and white.
Arts & Photography, Schools, Periods & Styles, Surrealism,