Major Touring Exhibit of Surrealist Art Opens at Knoxville Museum09.20.2005
KNOXVILLE, TN — Dream, metaphor, fetishism, nonsense, and play were among the defining characteristics that renowned New York art dealer Julien Levy (1906?1981) ascribed to Surrealism. They are also, fittingly, among the marvels of an exhibition based on Levy's collection of Surrealist art.
Accommodations of Desire: Surrealist Works on Paper Collected by Julien Levy, a national traveling exhibition, includes over 100 drawings, collages, prints, watercolors and photographs by key artists of the Surrealist movement. The exhibition opens at the Knoxville Museum of Art on September 30 and runs through November 27, 2005.
Levy was one of the 20th century's most influential art dealers and his Manhattan gallery operated from 1931 to 1949, when the center of the cultural avant-garde was transitioning from Paris to New York. As a champion for Surrealism, experimental film and photography, Levy was a conduit for many vital aesthetic changes originating in Europe. Mentored by the great American photographer and dealer Alfred Stieglitz, Levy opened his gallery to showcase a Surrealist approach to photography, a movement that favored psychological complexity over pictorial clarity.
As sampled through the singular thread of works on paper, this exhibition attests to Levy's vigorous appreciation of Surrealism as a whole. A great number of the works in the show were made by artists Levy promoted, including the subjects of the gallery's first and last shows: Max Ernst in 1931 and Arshile Gorky in 1949. Also included are works by Joseph Cornell, Salvador Dal?, Roberto Matta, and Dorothea Tanning, and others. A key section explores Surrealism in photography featuring works by Eug?ne Atget, Brassa?, Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Andr? Kert?sz, Dora Maar, and Man Ray, among many others.
Dorothea Tanning described the vital role the gallery had played in New York this way, "Of all the gallery activity on Fifty-seventh Street, where everything happened in those days, it was the Julien Levy Gallery that was truly making art history, the place where it was 'at.' The prospect of seeing one's own work on its walls was, well, breathtaking."
Throughout Levy's life the personal and professional interlaced. The title of this exhibition comes from one of Dal?'s most famous images, Accommodations of Desire-a painting that Levy owned during his lifetime and considered among his favorite pictures. In presenting the works personally collected by Levy, the exhibition explores not only Levy's momentous professional role in the promotion of Surrealism, but also his individual passion and affinity for the concepts and artists of this movement. As curator Ingrid Schaffner asserts, "Levy didn't just sell Surrealism, he lived it."
"Julian Levy: Dealing in Surrealism" by Ingrid Schaffner
Sunday, October 2, 2 pm
Free with museum admission
Exhibition curator Ingrid Schaffner will conduct a slide talk that will focus on how Julien Levy's activities as an art dealer fueled his passion as a collector. The Julien Levy Gallery, the first gallery to represent Surrealism in America, opened in New York in 1931. Over the next two decades the gallery presented the work of Salvador Dali, Max Ernst, Joseph Cornell, Alexander Calder, Dorothea Tanning, Eugene Berman, Frida Kahlo, Pavel Tchelitchew, Alberto Giacometti, and Arshile Gorky, among many other masters of the 20th century, giving a number of them their first exhibitions. Schaffner is a writer and senior curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania. She co-curated this exhibition with photography historian Colin Westerbeck.
Alfred Hitchcock Film
Sunday, October 16, 2pm
Free with museum admission
History of Film as an Art Form
The Psychological: Dada/Surrealist Art and Film
by Dr. Norman Magden
Wednesday, November 9, 6:30?7:30pm
$10 in addition to museum admission
Surrealist Cocktail Party
Thursday, November 17, 8?11pm
"Accommodations of Desire: Surrealist Works on Paper Collected by Julien Levy" is organized and circlutated by Curatorial Assistance Traveling Exhibitions, Los Angeles, and is curated by Ingrid Schaffner and Colin Westerbeck. The works on paper in this exhibition are lent courtesy the Jean Farley Levy Estate. The photographs in this exhibition are lent courtesy David Raymond, New York.
Publication: "Accommodations of Desire: Surrealist Works on Paper Collected by Julien Levy" exhibition catalogue is produced by Curatorial Assistance Traveling Exhibitions (CATE), Pasadena. It includes essays by Ingrid Schaffner and Colin Westerbeck. This small "fetish"-size book measures 6 x 4 inches, has a fur spine and includes 128 pages with 82 full-color reproductions. The book is available in the museum gift shop.
The Knoxville Museum of Art serves Knoxville and surrounding counties as the premiere visual arts resource of East Tennessee. In addition to its program of exhibitions, the museum provides and array of educational and public programs. The museum is located in downtown Knoxville at 1050 World's Fair Park and is open to the public Tuesday and Wednesday from noon to 8 p.m., Thursday and Friday from noon to 9 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free on Tuesdays from 5-8 p.m. Admission prices are $5 for adults and seniors and free to members and children 17 and under.
For more information contact Dell Baker at 865-525-6101, x224 or visit www.knoxart.org.