Published: May 15, 2007
When it comes to movements in art, absolutely nothing beats the drama and dynamism of the Surrealists. Mining the recesses of the subconscious for its often bizarre and rarely rational imagery, Surrealism had it all: the fiery personalities and their brilliant technique through which a fantastic torrent of dreams, sex, humor and poetry flowed in an endless expression of passion and invention.
“Dreams on Canvas: Surrealism in Europe and America” opens at Nassau County Museum of Art (NCMA) Saturday, May 26, 2007, and continues on view through Sunday, August 12.
This original, groundbreaking exhibition, curated by Constance Schwartz and Charles A. Riley, II, gathers not only the European stars of the movement but the young Americans †including Robert Motherwell, Jackson Pollock, Adolph Gottlieb and Willem De Kooning †who flocked to its brilliance and used this movement as a springboard for their pioneering work as Abstract Expressionists.
Starting with André Breton, Surrealism’s advocate and frequent spokesman, the exhibition includes the flamboyant Salvador Dali and his cohorts, René Magritte, Max Ernst, Giorgio de Chirico, Joan Miró, Matta, Masson, Jean Arp and Yves Tanguy.
Breton, author of The Surrealist Manifesto, 1924, called Surrealism a means of reuniting the conscious and unconscious realms of experience so completely that the world of dream and fantasy would be joined to the everyday rational world in “an absolute reality, a surreality.”
Drawing on theories adapted from Sigmund Freud and C.G. Jung, Breton saw the unconscious as the wellspring of the imagination
“Dreams on Canvas” advances to consider the impact that these European Surrealists had upon American artists. Many of the European stars emigrated to New York City, beginning with Dali, who arrived in 1939, followed by Ernst and Breton as well as Marcel Duchamp over the next couple of years.
To round out the picture, the exhibition presents the many provocative ways in which Surrealism penetrated other media, including film, theater and fashion, affecting modes of thinking as well as making art.
Nassau County Museum of Art is at One Museum Drive (just off Northern Boulevard, Route 25A, two traffic lights west of Glen Cove Road). Free docent-led tours of the main exhibition are offered at 2 pm every day. Meet in the lobby, no reservations are needed. The Museum Shop and Red Room gallery are open all museum hours. For information, www.nassaumuseum.com or 516-484-9337.
5 Church Hill Road / Newtown, CT 06470
Mon - Fri / 8:00 am - 5:01 pm