Dada and Surrealism: A Very Short Introduction

ISBN : 9780192802545

David Hopkins
208 Pages
113 x 174 mm
Pub date
Apr 2004
Very Short Introductions


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  • A very popular subject, not least because of its influence on contemporary art
  • Discusses work by well-known artists such as Magritte, Dali, Duchamp, and Man Ray
  • Explores Dada and Surrealism's obsession with sexuality, issues of identity, fetishism, and shock tactics
  • Examines the many debates surrounding these movements, including the Marquis de Sade's position as a Surrealist deity, attitudes towards the city, the impact of Freud, and attitudes to women
  • Covers Zurich, New York, Berlin, Cologne, Barcelona, Paris, London, and recently discovered examples in Eastern Europe

The avant-garde movements of Dada and Surrealism continue to have a huge influence on cultural practice, especially in contemporary art, with its obsession with sexuality, fetishism, and shock tactics. In this new treatment of the subject, Hopkins focuses on the many debates surrounding these movements: the Marquis de Sade's Surrealist deification, issues of quality (How good is Dali?), the idea of the 'readymade', attitudes towards the city, the impact of Freud, attitudes to women, fetishism, and primitivism. The international nature of these movements is examined, covering the cities of Zurich, New York, Berlin, Cologne, Barcelona, Paris, London, and recenlty discovered examples in Eastern Europe. 

Hopkins explores the huge range of media employed by both Dada and Surrealism (collage, painting, found objects, performance art, photography, film) , whilst at the same time establishing the aesthetic differences between the movements. He also examines the Dadaist obsession with the body-as-mechanism in relation to the Surrealists' return to the fetishized/eroticized body. 


1: Histories
2: Geographies
3: Art and Anti-Art
4: Actions
5: Politics
6: Minds
7: Bodies
8: Endings

About the author: 

Dr David Hopkins is lecturer in Art History at Glasgow University. He is the author of After Modern Art: 1045-2000 (OUP, 2000); previous publications include Marcel Duchamp and Max Ernst: the Bride Shared (OUP, 1988).

"In a relatively small space Hopkins manages a stylish presentation and analysis of two of modernism's most famous isms." - Bear Books

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