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Art & Spec materials exhibited in Cantor's "The Conjured Life: The Legacy of Surrealism"

January 18, 2017
Peter P Blank
The Conjured Life docent tour

During the late Spring and early Summer of 2016, Jodi Roberts, Halperin Curator for Modern and Contemporary Art, and Sean O'Hanlan, a 5th year Ph.D. candidate in Art History who is writing on Surrealism, viewed the subtantial holdings of Surrealist printed material and ephemera held by the Bowes Art & Architecture Library. After numerous viewings and planning sessions with Peter Blank, Senior Librarian, and additional examinations of material held by Special Collections, Jodi and Sean selected thirty-eight Art Library pieces and two Special Collections pieces for inclusion in "The Conjured Life: The Legacy of Surrealism," a loan show traveling from the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.

With important works by the Surrealist circle or inspired by Surrealism, "The Conjured Life" presents Surrealism as a long standing, rich, and collaborative culture of artistic practice, a perspective only made possible with the inclusion of the printed materials loaned by SUL. Among the significant pieces on loan from the Art Library are three gelatin silver photographic prints by Eugène Atget from the 1956 portfolio printed by Berenice Abbott, 20 Photographs, the 1936 collaboration between Yves Tanguy and Benjamin Péret, Dormir, dormir dans les pierres; poème (1936), with a hand painted cover by Tanguy, and two volumes from Max Ernst's remarkable five volume collage suite, Une semaine de bonté (1934). Special Collections lent the title that started it all, André Breton's first Surrealist manifesto, Manifeste du surréalisme; Poisson soluble (1924). With special thanks to members of SUL's ace Preservation staff, whose tireless efforts in support of the exhibition before and during the infamous Redwood City move made the loans possible: Kristen St. John, David Brock, Beth Ryan, Sarah Newton, and Aude Gabory. "The Conjured Life" is now open and will continue through April 3, 2017. Don't miss it! The attached photo shows Peter surrounded by members of the Cantor staff and the Cantor docents after an orientation tour to introduce the docents to the SUL loans.