Roslyn Harbor, NY - 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) on Saturday, May 26 and continues on view through Sunday, August 12, 2007.
This original, groundbreaking exhibition, curated by Constance Schwartz and Dr. 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: Surrealism in Europe and America advances to consider the impact that these European Surrealists had upon American artists. Many of the European stars emigrated to New York beginning with Dali, who arrived in 1939, followed by Ernst and Breton as well as Marcel Duchamp in 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. It is a trip into the minds and dreams of Modern artists at their strangest, sometimes deepest, and always surprisingly best.
In conjunction with Dreams on Canvas: Surrealism in Europe and America, NCMA is presenting numbers of stimulating lectures and discussions, among them Tea & Tour, introduced by Constance Schwartz with an exclusive docent-led tour of the exhibition; Stars of Surrealism, two Saturday afternoon lectures by Chief Curator Franklin Hill Perrell in which he discusses the development of Surrealism in Europe and then its arrival in New York; Surrealism as Humanism, a multimedia lecture by the exhibition's co-curator, Dr. Charles A. Riley II; Playing with Surrealism, a presentation by artist/curator Larry List and a round-robin chess tournament, both on June 24.
Nassau County Museum of Art is located at One Museum Drive (just off Northern Boulevard, Route 25A, two traffic lights west of Glen Cove Rd.) in Roslyn Harbor. Hours are 11 am to 4:45 pm Tuesday through Sunday. Admission to the main building, the Arnold & Joan Saltzman Fine Art Building, is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors (62+) and $4 for children. During the run of Dreams on Canvas: Surrealism in Europe and America the museum is offering half-off admission on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Weekends only there is a $2 parking fee. 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. Call (516) 484-9337 for current exhibitions, events, days/times and directions or log onto www.nassaumuseum.com