Monday, April 23, 2007

New AIC Aquistion: Claude Cahun

Just got word from The Art Institute of Chicago’s public affairs office that a new work has been acquired:

Claude Cahun’s Object (1936)

"This small, enigmatic work is currently on view in a new installation of some of the museum's Surrealist holdings in Gallery 273. There viewers will find such icons of the collection as René Magritte's Time Transfixed and Salvador Dalî's original plaster Venus de Milo with Drawers (acquired in 2005), as well as works by Yves Tanguy, Man Ray, Balthus, Paul Delvaux, Max Ernst, Angel Planells, and six boxes from the Lindy and Edwin Bergman Joseph Cornell Collection," states the press release.

This is an artist that had been an overlooked member of the Surrealist scene. But in recent years attention has returned, and grown, for the androgynous artist who was far ahead of her time.

"Cahun herself embodied the psychosexual energy found in much Surrealist work. Born Lucy Schwob in 1894, Cahun took on the androgynous pseudonym she is known by today some time around 1919. With her shaved head, mannish clothes, and radical attitudes about gender, Cahun transcended stereotypical notions of masculinity and femininity. In fact, until the mid-1980s, scholars assumed she was a man. Her brazenly unconventional and creative persona led her to fellow members of the avant-garde. Shortly after meeting Surrealism-founder André Breton in 1932, she became an active member of the Surrealist movement, producing key writings on art, revolution and sexuality. She also participated in numerous Surrealist exhibitions, including the landmark 1936 exposition of Surrealist objects at the Galerie Charles Ratton in Paris-an exhibition which inaugurated object-making as an integral part of Surrealist practice and where Cahun first debuted the Art Institute's newly acquired Object."

Check out the comments on the Society for Contemporary Art post, an anonymous tipster has filled in the last finalist's name. Excluding, of course, a additional "surprise candidate."

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