Grand Rapids Art Museum | October 19, 2012 – January 13, 2013
This exhibition boldly challenges the art-historical categories of “Realism” and “Surrealism.” Focusing on the tension and overlap between these two strong currents in twentieth-century art, the juxtapositions and points of convergence encourage fresh new ways of looking at some of the most dynamic works of art of the thirties, forties, and fifties in America.
The exhibition offers viewers the exciting opportunity to actively reexamine categories that previously seemed oppositional. Artists whose styles are traditionally described as Realist, such as Edward Hopper and Andrew Wyeth, distill from reality using composition and style to convey an ambiguous or unsettling mood, finding the uncanny in the everyday. Artists typically known as Surrealists, such as Man Ray and Yves Tanguy, are represented with otherworldly yet sometimes familiar images. In between is the work of the Magic Realists, such as George Tooker and Jared French, who render reality in a way that makes it seem alien.
Real/Surreal is organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and includes over sixty paintings, drawings, photographs, and prints. GRAM is the first stop on a national tour of this exhibition.