Sex and Sensibility

Even so, "Desire Unbound" does do something better than any show of surrealism has ever done. Although they're often sequestered into little girl ghettos at the Met and sometimes suffer from weak selections, there are more women in it than in any previous surrealist exhibition. Paintings by Leonor Fini, Frida Kahlo (each sadly represented by only two canvases), Carrington (who currently lives in Mexico), and Tanning (who lives in New York) look extremely fresh, and are revelations of pictorial ambition and female fantasy. If future surrealist exhibitions follow the lead set by "Desire Unbound," the movement will seem less bound and more fraught with desire.

The private part: Meret Oppenheim in Man Ray’s Veiled Erotic (1933)
photo: Collection Lucien Treillard, from Surrealism: Desire Unbound, Tate Publishing/Metropolitan Museum Of Art
The private part: Meret Oppenheim in Man Ray’s Veiled Erotic (1933)


Surrealism: Desire Unbound
Metropolitan Museum of Art
1000 Fifth Avenue
Through May 12

More surrealist art with a decidedly erotic bent can be found in two other local shows. "Behind the Surrealist Curtain: Sex, Sensuality and Silence" at Ubu Gallery, 16 East 78th Street, through March 16, includes work by Marcel Duchamp, René Magritte, Raoul Ubac, Joseph Cornell, Dorothea Tanning, Max Ernst, and others. "Surrealist Collage," which includes vintage pieces by Cornell, Ernst, Georges Hugnet, André Masson, Valentine Penrose, and others, continues through February 23 at the Zabriskie Gallery, 41 East 57th Street.

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