This is Not a Pipe: Art and the Surreal
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Level: Undergraduate
Division: Parsons The New School for Design
School: School of Art and Design History and Theory
Department: Art and Design History
Course Number: PLAH 3365
Course Format: Seminar
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
  • Art History, Theory & Criticism
  • Visual Culture
  • Design History, Theory & Criticism
When Surrealism was officially defined in 1924 by poet Andre Breton as "pure psychic automatism," the visual arts were not considered to be appropriate means for expressing the unconscious. However, within a few years, painters, sculptors, photographers, and filmmakers - including Salvador Dali, Alberto Giacometti, Many Ray, and Luis Bunuel - were established as important members of the group, and artworks such a s Dali's "Persistence of Memory" became Surrealist icons. Although the group no longer exists, invocation of the surreal through paradoxical juxtapositions and playful improvisation has continued to be an important strategy of contemporary visual culture, as witnessed in recent exhibitions such as "Pop Surrealism." This class explores the poetry, fiction, artists' writings, films, photography, paintings, and sculpture of Dada and Surrealist artists of the past as well as the works of present artists involved with the surreal. Readings, discussions, class presentations, slides, videos and field trips will further knowledge and understanding. Class members will be encouraged to make and share their own connections between past and present. Pathway: Art and Design History
Course Open to: Degree Students
Course Pre/Co-requisites:
Open to: All university degree students. Pre-requisites: first-year university writing course and at least one prior history or methods course in art, media, film, or visual culture.


Open to Undergraduate students.