A wide-ranging look at surrealist and postsurrealist engagements with the culture and imagery of childhood
We all have memories of the object-world of childhood. For many of us, playthings and images from those days continue to resonate. Rereading a swathe of modern and contemporary artistic production through the lens of its engagement with childhood, this book blends in-depth art historical analysis with sustained theoretical exploration of topics such as surrealist temporality, toys, play, nostalgia, memory, and 20th-century constructions of the child. The result is an entirely new approach to the surrealist tradition via its engagement with “childish things.” Providing what the author describes as a “long history of surrealism,” this book plots a trajectory from surrealism itself to the art of the 1980s and 1990s, through to the present day. It addresses a range of figures from Marcel Duchamp, Giorgio de Chirico, Max Ernst, Hans Bellmer, Joseph Cornell, and Helen Levitt, at one end of the spectrum, to Louise Bourgeois, Eduardo Paolozzi, Claes Oldenburg, Susan Hiller, Martin Sharp, Helen Chadwick, Mike Kelley, and Jeff Koons, at the other.