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Lecture 2: Introduction to
Adam Blatner

This is the second in a series given to the Senior University Georgetown in the Fall of 2014.

Surrealism is a movement in art especially in the second through the fifth decade of the 20th century, with resonances also in music and drama and the other arts. It seeks to illustrate the depth-psychological dimension of mind, and is vaguely related to Freudian psychoanalysis and Jungian analytic psychology---but artists then play freely, hardly sticking to any theory. It recognizes we can be wacky, sometimes in not-so-funny forms of mental illness, but also in funny twists and turns of the actually normal---but imaginatively creative---mind.

Some noted surrealist painters in the history of art include Salvador Dali, Max Ernst, and others. At the edge of surrealism and partly into abstract art are the playful images of Wassily Kandinski, Paul Klee, etc.

Beyond the fine arts, note that cartoons, the Sunday comic strips, and comic books---bridging now into the form called "graphic fiction," has a certain small percentage of artists who are clearly surrealistic. I'll be commenting on Jim Woodring, Windsor McKay, Abner Dean, and others. The point is to recognize that these less-"fine" art forms are often funny, well-crafted, and surprisingly insightful. Some of the cartoonists are quite good at drawing, and add their own style in very aesthetic ways.

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