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Online Class: The Surrealist Revolution

Art in Context / Online

Mondays, March 8–29, 6 – 8:10pm


Joan Miró. Two Women Surrounded by Birds (detail), 1937. BF967. © 2020 Successió Miró / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

$220; members $198
(4 classes)

All classes in Eastern time. We encourage you to watch live, but classes can be streamed once the live session ends. See our FAQ.

About the Class

What was surrealism—as an ideology, a political project, and an artistic movement? This class explores the work of poets, thinkers, and artists both inside and outside leader André Breton’s circle, from the movement’s formal inception in 1924 through its international expansion in the 1930s.

We will consider the emergence of the “manifesto” as a defining feature of the avant-garde, the centrality of journals to advancing surrealist goals, the contested parity of the verbal and visual arts, and how figures such as André Masson, Max Ernst, Man Ray, and Salvador Dalí reimagined traditional media in their efforts to externalize unconscious thought. Ultimately, did surrealist practice fulfill Breton's theoretical ambitions to transform the real? And what can we learn today from a movement that mobilized art as an instrument of revolution?

Each week, the main lecture is followed by a 30-minute discussion session that allows students the opportunity to ask questions and exchange ideas with the instructor and classmates.


Naina Saligram

Saligram specializes in late 19th- and early 20th-century art in France. She has held curatorial, research, and teaching positions at the Yale University Art Gallery, Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Barnes Foundation and earned an MA in the history of art from Yale University.