In her own words...
I never felt the need to cultivate my unconscious. Then or now. It is there. Alchemically fused with my conscious self, assuring my individuation. They mesh and work together to make of me whatever it is that I am.
– Dorothea Tanning, 1989
New On View
"Chére Caresse: Art in the Crosby Papers" is on view at the University Museum at Southern Illinois University Carbondale through December 15, 2023. Drawn from Carresse Crosby's papers and art in the Morris Library' s Special Collections Research Center, the exhibition celebrates her interaction with an array of mid 20th-century artists and writers, and includes the drawing Fantastic Heliotherapy (1944), which Crosby had published in Black Sun Press's Spring 1946 issue of Portfolio.
The New Museum in New York will dedicate a portion of the exhibition "Judy Chicago: Herstory" to "The City of Ladies," an installation within the exhibition that features artworks and archival materials from over eighty artists, writers, and thinkers, including Dorothea Tanning, to celebrate and contextualize Judy Chicago's career. The exhibitions will be open October 12, 2023 through January 14, 2024.
New In Print
Anna Watz has edited a new collection of essays, A History of the Surrealist Novel (Cambridge University Press, 2023). Her essay "The Mother Figure in the Surrealist Novel" and Catriona McAra's "Feminist-Surrealism in the Contemporary Novel" examine Tanning's novel Chasm: A Weekend, while Katharine Conley's essay "Autobiography" discusses Tanning's memoir Birthday in the context of Surrealist writings. These are among twenty scholarly essays that consider many texts previously left out of critical accounts of the surrealist movement -- texts written by men and women in French, English, Spanish, German, Greek, and Japanese, from its emergence in the 1920s and 1930s, through the post-war and postmodern periods, and up to the present moment.
Kasmin Gallery has published the exhibition catalogue Dorothea Tanning: Doesn’t the Paint Say It All? Both the show and the book take their title from Tanning’s own essay entitled "To Paint," which is included in the publication. This poetic and impassioned text, first published in 1986, describes the artist's creative process and the nature of the medium itself. The catalogue also explores the artist's unique surrealist practice and the tension between abstraction and figuration in her work through reflections on Tanning’s paintings by three art historians and scholars of surrealism: Mary Ann Caws, Katharine Conley, and Victoria Carruthers. The publication has been nominated by the contributers to Hyperallergic as one of "The Best Art Books of 2022," a list of "20 must-reads that informed and broadened their worldviews this year."
Susan L. Power contemplates the motif of doors in her essay "Portes et miroirs dans le monde surconscient de Dorothea Tanning" in the exhibition catalogue SurréAlice: Lewis Carroll et les Surréalistes (Vol. 1 of 2, Strasbourg: Editions des Musées de Strasbourg, 2022, pp. 75-83). The publication explores the Surealists' interest in Carroll's work as a precursor and inspiration to their own.
Victoria Carruthers has published Dorothea Tanning: Transformations, released by Lund Humphries. A definitive study of the artist's life and career, this monograph provides a framework within which to consider the range and depth of Tanning's work and thematic preoccupations. The book is extensively illustrated and features previously unpublished material from interviews which the author conducted with the artist between 2000 and 2009. The author discusses the book in an interview found here.
In her own voice...
Dorothea Tanning: Insomia – a short film made in 1978 by the German director Peter Schamoni – offers the opportunity to hear the artist's observations about her life and work and to see her in her home and studio in Seillans, France. The film can be viewed here, courtesy of the Schamoni Film & Media Archive in Munich.
We are looking for information about a number of paintings in the effort to fully document Dorothea Tanning's work for a catalogue raisonné. If you have seen any of these paintings, please contact us.