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Michael Rosenfeld Gallery Explores Surrealism in America
Pavel Tchelitchew (1898-1957), Head of Spring, 1940-41, gouache and watercolor on paper, 19 x 25 1/8 inches, signed and dated. Photo: Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, LLC, New York, NY.

NEW YORK, NY.- Michael Rosenfeld Gallery presents Unconscious Unbound: Surrealism in America, the gallery’s first exhibition in over a decade dedicated to the influence of surrealism on American figural and abstract art. Spanning two decades from 1931 to 1952, the exhibition features painting, drawing, sculpture, and collage by thirty-two artists: William Baziotes, Eugene Berman, Federico Castellon, Eldzier Cortor, Willem deKooning, Jimmy Ernst, Herbert Ferber, Jared French, Arshile Gorky, Morris Graves, David Hare, Charles Howard, Gerome Kamrowski, Leon Kelly, Harold Lehman, Norman Lewis, Seymour Lipton, Helen Lundeberg, Boris Margo, Irving Norman, Gordon Onslow-Ford, Alfonso Ossorio, Jackson Pollock, Richard Pousette-Dart, Theodore Roszak, Mark Rothko, Charles Seliger, Kurt Seligmann, Theodoros Stamos, Dorothea Tanning, Pavel Tchelitchew and John Wilde.

As material by many of these artists becomes increasingly rare, having found its way into private and permanent museum collections, Unconscious Unbound: Surrealism in America offers a special opportunity to view the works of celebrated practitioners of American surrealism alongside those by artists not typically labeled surrealist, but whose beginnings are rooted in the movement. The broad scope of this group show enables the exhibition to explore the rich and seemingly divergent manifestations of surrealism in American art. William Baziotes’s vibrant, abstract Star Figure (1948) co-exists with the despair of Eugene Berman’s Medusa’s Corner (1943); the violence of Pavel Tchelitchew’s Boys Fighting in Wheat (1939-41) is complemented by the disquieting sensuality of Eldzier Cortor’s The Wall (1948). The result is an exhibition where variety in scale, medium, and degree of abstraction is balanced by the strong continuity among all the works—a reliance on automatism, a juxtaposition of unexpected elements and conflicting temporalities, and the presence of organic forms—bringing to light the profound impact surrealism had on pre- and post-war American artists.

Since its founding in 1989, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery has passionately championed American surrealist artists, dedicating solo exhibitions to (among others) Pavel Tchelitchew, Morris Graves, Norman Lewis, and Theodoros Stamos. The gallery currently represents the estates of Charles Seliger, Seymour Lipton, Theodore Roszak, Boris Margo, Federico Castellon, Alfonso Ossorio, and Irving Norman. The past decade has seen several major museum exhibitions dedicated to American surrealism. These shows and their accompanying catalogues have helped sustain existing interest in American surrealists and have sparked new interest in American surrealism on a global scale. They include: The Surrealists in Exile and the Origin of the New York School, 1999 (Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain and Musées de Strasbourg, Strasbourg); Surrealism USA, 2005 (National Academy Museum, New York, New York; Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, Arizona); and Repartir à zero, 1945-1949 [Starting from Scratch], 2008 (Musée des Beaux-Arts de Lyon, Lyon, France).

Unconscious Unbound: Surrealism in America is part of this renewed interest in American surrealism; its scope challenges the traditional parameters of what constitutes surrealist art while maintaining a spotlight on surrealism’s masters.

Michael Rosenfeld Gallery | Unconscious Unbound | Surrealism in America |

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