The Surrealist Revolution in America

Main Gallery
July 27, 2019 through October 27, 2019
guest curator Kendy Genovese

This comprehensive survey explores the Surrealist revolution of thought and the role chance and choice played in the evolution of the avant-garde in America. The exhibition features original paintings, drawings and objects by Enrico Donati, Jimmy Ernst, David Hare, Gerome Kamrowski, Gordon Onslow Ford and Kurt Seligmann.

The Museum will be open on July 27 from 11 to 3 pm; closing one hour early to prepare for the Opening Celebration
For Opening Celebration information and tickets Click Here

Museum Admission is $15: Adult (age 18-64); $7.50: Seniors (65+and Kids under 18. Admission is Free for Museum Members, residents of the California Veterans Home and Active Duty Military.


In the aftermath of World War I, a group of writers and artists led by André Breton formed a new movement they called Surrealism— “beyond the real.” The world was in crisis, characterized by political unrest, economic distress, and uncertainty for the future following the horrific destruction of both lives and order during the war. Armed with the irrational and committed to the unconventional, this group mounted a revolution of consciousness to find and redefine meaning in this new world. Surrealism would last for more than four decades and be the last formal and cohesive movement in modern art whose undeniable influence would permeate every art movement that has come since.

Between 1939 and 1941, many of the giants of European Surrealism were forced to decamp to the United States to escape the impending fascist war. It was only when the émigrés arrived in the U.S. that the true impact of the intermingling of artists, ideas, and cultures could be fully appreciated. Not only would this displacement have a profound impact on a new generation of American art, it would likewise have transformative effects on the émigrés themselves, whose reaction to their new environment — the landscape and lore of the new worlds — would result in some of the strongest and most groundbreaking work of their careers.  This exhibition follows many of the artists critical to this exchange. It is a map — of ideas, of people, and of forms — which helps to explain a historical period of extreme searching and finding as the center of the art world moved from Paris to New York and Abstract Expressionism was born.


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