Thursday, October 10, 2013
The Darker Side of Magritte, the Kinder, Gentler Surrealist
Is any artist linked inseparably with an article of clothing as René Magritte and the bowler hat? Whether raining down from the sky or with faces obscured by apples, Magritte’s bowler-hatted men have found a home in mainstream visual culture even if Magritte’s own name always hasn’t. Over the years, Magritte’s become the kinder, gentler Surrealist—the anti-Dali who doesn’t roam nightmare landscapes of the psyche full of sex and madness. We know and almost want to know a Magritte as gentle as the Paul Simon song about him, but the reality (like the reality of the song, if you listen closely) is much stranger and darker. The Museum of Modern Art’s new exhibition, Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926–1938, goes back to the beginning of Magritte’s career, before widespread acceptance and Magritte’s own public image making smoothed the rough edges of his Surrealism, which was just as sharp and disturbing as that of Dali, but less obvious for looking so ordinary. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "The Darker Side of Magritte, the Kinder, Gentler Surrealist."