Photography and the Surreal Imagination
Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020 – Sunday, Jun. 14, 2020
This exhibition presents the wide reach of the surreal imagination in modern and contemporary photography. Anchored in historical Surrealism, it explores photography’s central tension between documentation and invention, a generative force for artists connected to that movement. These artists produced images that teeter between truth and suggestion, reality and its invented double. Drawn from the Menil’s holdings and Houston collections, the exhibition demonstrates how this vision of photography continues to hold sway and how artists have used the camera to reshape, question, and disturb the way we see the world.
The presentation begins with an examination of the transformation of the everyday through the lens in a tradition that recasts the world as an enigmatic theater, from Eugène Atget’s shots of Old Paris to Allison Janae Hamilton’s haunted folklore of the American South. Photographs in the exhibition also foreground the exploration of the body, including Hans Bellmer’s images of deconstructed dolls and Cindy Sherman’s cinematographic self-staging, among other depictions of costumed, distorted, fragmented figures. Lastly, the show considers the manipulation of the image. It highlights artists from Man Ray to Lorna Simpson, all of whom turned the photographic surface into collision of pictorial fragments that questions the nature of representation.
Photography and the Surreal Imagination is curated by Natalie Dupêcher, Assistant Curator of Modern Art, and will coincide with the FotoFest Biennial 2020. It will be installed adjacent to the Menil’s Surrealism galleries.
This exhibition is generously supported by the City of Houston.
HOURS & ADMISSION
Wednesday - Sunday, 11:00 am - 7:00 pm
Closed Monday and Tuesday
- Free Hours: Always free!
Directions & Parking
- Free Parking
- Street Parking
- The Menil Collection parking lot is located on West Alabama between Mandell and Mulberry. Street parking is available in the surrounding neighborhood.
Special Offers / Dining
Bistro Menil offers European-inspired, American fare paired with craft beer, cask wine, and thoughtfully selected wines by the glass or bottle.
Events at The Menil Collection
Sep. 13 – Feb. 2, 2020
Mapa Wiya (Your Map’s Not Needed): Australian Aboriginal Art from the Fondation Opale
Feb. 20 – Feb. 20, 2020
Public Opening of Think of Them as Spaces: Brice Marden’s Drawings
Feb. 4 – Feb. 4, 2020
Programs & Activities
Menil Contemporaries Cocktails with a Curator: René Magritte
Within Walking Distance
Join the Houston Museum District
Join our mailing list for sneak peeks to upcoming events and insider information on the best museum district in the world