Don’t Miss: Female Surrealists

LACMA celebrates female surrealists with a new exhibition.


Their male counterparts cast women as passive muses, muted subjects, and erotic playthings. But an exhibition opening January 29 (through May 6) at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art gives full recognition to the numerous female surrealists in painting, sculpture, and photography from the tail end of the Jazz Age through the Age of Aquarius. Though their travels into the subconscious were no less imaginative, bizarre, or ground­breaking than those of the men, the women tended to turn out work that was more personal and tormented, as evidenced by “In Wonderland: The Surrealist Adventures of Women Artists in Mexico and the United States.” Organized with the Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City, the exhibition traces the many shared flights of fancy and tragic similarities among nearly 50 artists, many of whom benefited from the dissemination of European surrealism by the exiles who settled in Mexico and the U.S. The show’s title, of course, comes from the literary classic about a young girl’s fantastical adventures. But the tea-party guests here are Frida Kahlo, Dorothea Tanning, Louise Bourgeois, Lee Miller, and, even more exciting, rediscovered artists from both sides of the border. Selected by LACMA curator Ilene Susan Fort and the Museo’s adjunct curator Teresa Arcq, the works should feel quite at home in L.A., where a number of the artists were based and which, according to Fort, Salvador Dalí considered “the most surreal city he’d ever been to.”

The Chess Queens: Courtesy of Los Angeles County Museum of Art