Annette Leddy and Donna Conwell
Introduction by Dawn Ades
“Farewell to Surrealism” is the title of a 1943 essay by Austrian artist-critic Wolfgang Paalen published in the inaugural issue of the journal Dyn. The journal was founded by Paalen and an international group of writers and artists taking refuge in Mexico City during World War II. Several of them had been part of André Breton’s Parisian surrealist circle in the 1930s. When they arrived in Mexico, they were still proponents of surrealism. Two years later, however, this group had broken with Breton and set out to define a new direction for art. Their vision coalesced in the pages of Dyn.
While recent scholarship has treated individual artists in the circle, this study is the first to examine the new aesthetic found in Dyn itself. Transformed by the mysterious pre-Columbian artifacts, distressed by the failure of political ideology, and inspired by scientific discoveries of the day, these artists played a critical but under-recognized role in the transition from surrealism to abstract expressionism. This catalogue accompanies an exhibition of the same name on view at the Getty Research Institute from October 2, 2012, to February 17, 2013.
Annette Leddy is a senior cataloguer and a consulting curator at the Getty Research Institute. Donna Conwell is an associate curator at Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, California. Dawn Ades is a semi-retired professor at the University of Essex.