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'From Dada to Dalí: Surrealist Works on Paper' Now at the Palmer Museum of Art

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Man Ray, The Rope Dancer Accompanies Herself with Her Shadows, 1970, color lithograph. Gift of John Driscoll, 2005.5.

The Palmer Museum of Art will present a new exhibition, From Dada to Dalí: Surrealist Works on Paper, from January 12 through May 8, 2016.

The Dada movement arose in reaction to the senseless destruction of World War I. First practiced, and named, in 1916 by writers and artists working in Zürich—among them Jean Arp, Hugo Ball, and Tristan Tzara—the idea soon developed independently in Berlin, Paris, and New York. The groups were united not so much in style or technique as in their rejection of convention and rationalism. The name Dada, French for “hobbyhorse” and derived, some say, by randomly stabbing a French-German dictionary with a penknife, fittingly denotes Dada’s nonsensical and decidedly anti-art propensities.

Surrealism evolved out of the Dada aesthetic, but rejected Dada’s preference for absurdity and adopted instead more programmed direction in its effort to combat rationalism. Influenced by the psychoanalytical work of Sigmund Freud, the Surrealists, including André Breton, Man Ray, André Masson, and Salvador Dalí, employed a variety of techniques, in particular, automatic writing and drawing, as a means of expressing the subconscious mind.

From Dada to Dalí, which features about forty prints, drawings, and texts by Surrealist and Dada artists and writers, has been organized in tandem with the April 2016 Center for the Performing Arts presentation of Daniele Finzi Pasca’s La Verità, a theatrical examination of the life and work of Salvador Dalí.

EXHIBITION-RELATED EVENTS 

Patrick McGrady, Charles V. Hallman Curator, will lead a Gallery Talk titled From Dada to Dalí on Friday, January 15, at 12:10 p.m. in the exhibition gallery.

Jonathan Eburne, associate professor of comparative literature and English, and Amy Dupain Vashaw, audience and program development coordinator, Center for the Performing Arts, curated Surreal Cinema Series: A Thematic Approach to Film, in conjunction with Consciously Surreal: Photography, the Uncanny, and the Body and From Dada to Dalí: Surrealist Works on Paper, and will present Pioneers of Experimental Films on Thursday, February 11, at 7:00 p.m.; Experimental Short Films by Women on Thursday, February 18, at 7:00 p.m.; and Art Films of the 1960s and 1970s on Thursday, February 25, at 7:00 p.m. in the Palmer Lipcon Auditorium. Films are appropriate for mature audiences.

Jonathan Eburne, associate professor of comparative literature and English, will lead a Perspectives Unbound Gallery Talk titled Surrealism on Paper on Friday, April 8, at 12:10 p.m.

Susan Hirth, docent, will lead a Docent Choice Tour titled Surrealism in Works on Paper on Sunday, April 24, at 2:00 p.m. beginning in the Christoffers Lobby. Light refreshments will be served afterward and all ages are welcome.

Also on view at the Palmer Museum of Art this spring are Consciously Surreal: Photography, the Uncanny, and the Body, January 12 through May 8, and Small Prints, Big Artists: Renaissance and Baroque Masterpieces from Carnegie Museum of Art, February 2 through May 15. Small Prints, Big Artists: Renaissance and Baroque Masterpieces from Carnegie Museum of Art was organized by Carnegie Museum of Art.

The Palmer Museum of Art at Penn State is located on Curtin Road and admission is free. Museum hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 4:00 p.m. The museum is closed Mondays and some holidays. Reduced hours: Saturday, March 5, through Sunday, March 13, noon to 4:00 p.m. Closed: Sunday, March 27.

The Palmer Museum of Art receives state arts funding support through a grant from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

Image: Man Ray, The Rope Dancer Accompanies Herself with Her Shadows, 1970, color lithograph. Gift of John Driscoll, 2005.5.