The Legacy of Surrealism

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From the fur-lined teacup of Meret Oppenheim to the hallucinatory dream narratives of Salvador Dali, it is possible that no “ism” of the last century changed our way of looking at the world in quite as dramatic a fashion as Surrealism. The author of its original manifesto fixed upon psychic automatism, the Freudian “unconscious” as a foundation of the art form, but Karl Marx muscles his way in as well with his social revolution against repression.

Still today, the Surrealists have us turning the mind back on itself, clashing disconnected ideas against each other and debating the origins and principles of the movement, and trying to leave a little room for humor as well. A trip into the world of absolute reality – sur-reality.


Mary Ann Caws, professor of comparative literature at the Graduate Center at CUNY and author, most recently, of “Surrealist Love Poems”

Arthur Danto, art critic for The Nation