On Feb. 3, an exhibition of Surrealist art work opened at the Carlos Museum. But this exhibit will reach beyond the normal confines of drawings and paintings displayed in a museum setting. Faculty and staff will be presenting a broad selection of programming to enable museum visitors to understand and appreciate the art works themselves, as well as the techniques used and the period of history during which they were created.
"Surrealist Vision and Technique: Drawings and Collages from the Pompidou Center and the Picasso Museum, Paris," features selections from the extensive holdings of Musée Nationale d'Art Moderne and of Picasso's estate. The exhibition, on view through April 7, will showcase 85 works by artists associated with Surrealism in Paris during the 1920s and 1930s, and by important precursors from the early teens to the early '20s.
Surrealists explored a wide range of themes and artistic procedures in reaction to the modernist art of the early 20th century and to the circumstances of the post-World War I era. Their goals were to expand the human unconscious and creative potential and, ultimately, to revolutionize society and the life of the individual. To realize these visions, they explored and developed new artistic techniques. The collage, automatic drawing, "decalcomania," and collective drawing are among the techniques shown in the exhibition.
Drawings offer the viewer an immediate grasp of meaning, not only because of their simplicity, their directness of technique and their approachable size, but also because of their apparent closeness to an artist's creative impulse. "Since it was Surrealism's goal to convey the artist's imagination, fantasies and psychic state as directly as possible," explained Clark V. Poling, the exhibition's curator and professor of art history, "drawings are the perfect medium through which we can approach the concepts and images of this movement."
Throughout the entire exhibition, faculty, staff, graduate students and guest lecturers will be offering different perspectives on the world of Surrealism. The broad selection of programming is partly due to the nature of Surrealism. "The artists themselves did so many different things," said Coordinator of Educational Programs Elizabeth Hornor. "Surrealism was in so many ways a literary movement as much as a visual arts movement. And music was such a part of their life, so it just seemed a natural thing to include that. I spoke at length with [curator] Clark Poling, and one of his goals was to include not only the works of the surrealists, but what was influencing them at the time."
On Feb. 6, Poling will present an illustrated lecture titled "Drawings and the Surrealist Critique of the Self." Other lectures during the course of the exhibition include Professor of French Suzanne Guerlac lecturing on "André Breton: The Surrealist Image and the Question of Reality Itself;" and Hal Foster, art critic and professor of Art History at Cornell University, addressing "The Return of the Real: Surrealism, Pop and Abject Art."
On March 5, Professor of Art History John Howett and Curator of Prints and Assistant Professor of Art History Marc Gotlieb, along with Poling, will lead an informal discussion of drawings in the exhibition.
On Feb. 15, Assistant Professor of Film Studies Robin Blaetz will lecture on "Surrealist Vision and Technique: The Cinema," and will introduce an eight-week film series.
Dwight Andrews, associate professor of Theory and Jazz Studies in the music department, will deliver a lecture on the topic of "Jazz and Art of Paris in the Twenties" on April 1. His presentation will include sound clips and live performance.
On Feb. 26, the Emory Chamber Music Society of Atlanta will present a concert in conjunction with the exhibit, and will perform works by Stravinsky, Berg and Debussy.
A workshop for children and their families on Feb. 24 will showcase the works of the Surrealists and explore the world of collage. On Feb. 7, a workshop for teachers led by manager of School Programs Julie Green will survey the development of Surrealism in the early 20th century and practice the use of chance in creating written and visual works of art.
- Anna Lalos, Nancy Spitler
Editor's note: Check the calendar for complete listings of events.