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The devastation wrought by World War I led to virulent critiques of reason, progress, and a kind of nationalism that had used technology to mostly destructive ends. International Dada movements during the War, and Surrealism in the postwar period, were central to these critiques. For this Teaching Gallery exhibition, over a dozen Dada and Surrealist artworks from the collections of the Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum and Olin Library’s Department of Special Collections will be on view. Artists represented include Man Ray, Max Ernst, Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, and Pablo Picasso. The selected works illustrate the range of strategies used to explore the irrational, fantastic, and absurd in the twentieth century, innovations that revolutionized artistic practices in Europe and the US.

This Teaching Gallery exhibition is organized by Stamos Metzidakis, professor of French and comparative literature, and John Klein, associate professor of art history, in conjunction with their course “Dada and Surrealism: Rethinking Reason,” offered by Washington University’s Comparative Literature program and the Department of Art History & Archaeology in spring 2011.

Download the Teaching Gallery flyer

Selected works

The Teaching Gallery is a space in the Kemper Art Museum dedicated to presenting works from the Museum's collection with direct connections to Washington University courses. Teaching Gallery installations are intended to serve as parallel classrooms and can be used to supplement courses through object-based inquiry, research, and learning. Learn more