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Late Surrealist Exhibitions and the Question of the Neo-Avant-Garde

Sarah Harvey. "Late Surrealist Exhibitions and the Question of the Neo-Avant-Garde." MA Thesis, University of Washington, 2013.

This thesis seeks to extend the critical discussion of Surrealism and its exhibitions into the post-war period to resist the popular notion that Surrealism died with World War II or with American exile. Two post-war American exhibitions and two post-war French exhibitions of Surrealist art are considered in order to offer a more chronologically complete assessment of the Surrealist movement, whose activities continued into the 1960s. While late Surrealism's claims to social and political relevancy were met with skepticism from critics and scholars, the Surrealist avant-garde continued to develop innovative means to express its utopian project. Late Surrealist exhibitions serve as a case study for understanding the relationship between the historical avant-garde and neo-avant-garde phases of Modernist art, as they are an important site of interaction for neo-avant-garde artists, such as Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Allan Kaprow, and Claes Oldenburg, who would adapt Surrealist practices and participate in these exhibitions.

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