[Exhibition Catalog] First Papers of Surrealism. 14 October - 7 November 1942
by BRETON, Andre and Marcel Duchamp (with additional text by Sidney Janis and R.A. Parker)
New York: Coordinating Council of French Relief Societies, Inc, 1942. First Edition. Acclaimed catalog of the first major exhibition of Surrealist works in the United States, mounted by Andre Breton and Marcel Duchamp in a large Italianate mansion in mid-town Manhattan. David Hopkins (see "Tate Papers no. 22", http://www.tate.org.uk/research/publications/tate-papers/22) describes the exhibition's opening thus: ...wealthy art patrons and members of New York's cultural elite milled around, attempting to make what they could of the strange web or net in which they were caught, peering through it to look at the paintings, while a number of children wove in and out of the guests, eventually carving out a space for themselves in the central area of the exhibition. From all accounts the group of children, led by the eleven-year-old Carroll Janis (son of the art collector Sidney Janis), consisted of six boys dressed in baseball, basketball and football attire, who threw balls among themselves, and six girls who played skipping games, jacks and hopscotch. They were under strict orders from Duchamp to carry on playing throughout the event, and to explain, if questioned, that they were playing on Duchamp's instructions. Duchamp, incidentally, was nowhere to be seen. As was his custom he had decided not to attend the opening.Much like Duchamp's own contribution to the show -- his famous "Mile of String", which dominated the exhibit hall, partially obscuring many of the artworks -- his catalog, with its five die-cut "bullet" holes in the front wrapper, is itself a small masterpiece of Surrealism, utilizing a slightly bizarre (especially to the average wealthy art patron of 1942) layout with interspersed "portraits" of the artists and cut-up montage techniques, undercutting the conventional function of the exhibition catalog to showcase and promote the work of individual artists, emphasizing instead the event as self-referential spectacle. A somewhat ephemeral item in the trade; copies seem to appear irregularly and to disappear quickly. Small quarto (26.5cm x 18.5cm); pictorial, die-cut wrappers; pp; illus. Covers slightly creased and soiled; brief signs of use; slight mustiness to contents as usual from coated paper; a solidly Very Good example.
(Inventory #: 28805)
The history, literature, and art of American social movements, including Civil Rights, Feminism, Labor History, Radical Politics, and Counterculture.
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