Surrealism and the Women thereof!

1.  What was wrong with the “femme-enfant” paradigm?

2.  In what role were women cast in the Surrealist movement?

3.  What is the subtext of Man Ray’s “Le Violin de Ingres?”

4.  Do you feel that Lee Miller’s contribution to art history is given its due?  Why or why not?

5.  Calling Dr. Freud:  Dorothea Tanning’s work, discuss!

6.  The pain of one’s physical condition seems to be a leitmotif in the work of Surrealist women’s art.  Do you agree, and if so, why do you think this surfaces at this point in history?

7.  How many Surrealist wives did Max Ernst have????  Leonara Carrington often featured white horses in her work. What do you think that symbolized for her?

8.  Frida Kahlo is often categorized as a Surrealist, though her works in many ways defy this label.  In what ways do you feel she conforms to this group of painters?

9.  In what ways did Surrealism serve women artists?  In what ways did it fail them?


4 responses

  1. 1. I would like to add another level of mess-up-ness to femme-enfant: it’s a fashion line. Is there anything right about femme-enfant? I think that femme-enfant is particularly interesting in relation to Freud.

    2. Sometimes it seems that many of these women were just lucky enough to be a male artist’s wife or mistress, and then be somewhat included in the group.

    3. I can’t seem to read this as anything other than objectification of the female body. The fact that she was his “hobby” is disgusting misogyny.

    4. I think any time that art mixes with fashion, the art is often considered lessened. I also think that her career may have been complicated by her modeling. Also, as we have seen numerous times, her relationship with Man Ray complicated things for her. She also falls under the stereotyped artist with a mental illness. In short, I think all these factors robbed her of her due.

    5. I’m loving this:

    6. I think that is an interesting motif. To me it seems that surrealist men like Man Ray are about dismembering and/or distorting the female body. Maybe the female artists are reacting to this dismemberment.

    9. i think surrealism allowed women artists closer to the “boys club” of professional artists, but at the same time, the gender binary was so reinforced by these male artists that it is as if there are “women” and “artist women,” creating yet another qualifier for women.

  2. Well, that posted without my permission, I will continue,
    I found this statement particularly interesting, “women artists dismissed male romanticizing of nature as female and nurturing (or female and destructive) and replaced it with a more austere and ironic version.” Although interesting, I find this statement problematic. It reminds me of a statement we heard earlier this semester “any woman with a brain is a feminist.” I think this kind of statement is sweeping and dangerously limiting and general.

    Artists’ negative portrayals maternity at this time, especially when one takes into the account the cult of true womanhood and the “happy family” painting we have been seeing recently, is not surprising. The pressure mothers at that time felt to be ideal and perfect must have been suffocating. The art of Kahlo on this subject is particulalry interesting as she could not have children. She felt the same pressure as the other women that we see, however, this pressure was to obtain something literally impossible for her. I think this makes her paintings about maternity the most touching and disturbing of those we saw.

  3. The coverage of women’s fashion in Chapter 9 was fascinating! The Omega Workshops sounded like a great place to create!

    I’d really like to discuss this notion of male sexual energy being equated with artistic creation. Do we still have this today? How have women artist’s worked within or against this concept?

    Can I just say that I LOVE Romaine Brooks’ self-portrait.
    Did she succeed in creating a lesbian visual aesthetic?

    How do we talk about “women’s art” as just “art”? Can we be gender-blind? Should we be gender-blind?

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