(Birthday, Dorothea Tanning)
Excerpt from salon.com’s interview with the oldest living Surrealist, Dorothea Tanning:
What do you think of some of the artwork being produced today?
I can’t answer that without enraging the art world. It’s enough to say that most of it comes straight out of dada, 1917. I get the impression that the idea is to shock. So many people laboring to outdo Duchamp’s urinal. It isn’t even shocking anymore, just kind of sad.
As you mentioned, there was a lot of shock value in the work of the dadaists and the surrealists that you fell in with. Was that somehow different?
In its beginning, surrealism was an electric time with all the arts liberating themselves from their Snow White spell. There is a value in shaking people up, meaning those who have forgotten to think for themselves. Shock can be valuable as a protest. Like the dada fomenters, sitting there in the Cafe Voltaire in 1917 — their disgust with the world they lived in, its lethal war, its politics, its so-called rationales. Shock had value at that time. But ideas and innovation will always prevail without any deliberate effort to shock.
101, but young at heart. Read the rest of Dorothea’s interview here.