Shock Of The New: Chapter 5, The Threshold of Liberty

Today, I continue my re-reading of The Shock of The New by Robert Hughes. This week, Chapter 5, The Threshold of Liberty.

If you follow the blog, you know that I read this book in its entirety earlier this year. I felt it was overflowing with such great content that I wanted to go back through the book slowly, chapter by chapter.

Chapter 5 is all about the Surrealists including Man Ray, DalÍ, Breton, Max Ernst, Miró etc…As always Hughes has the best writing. He’s writing is like poetry *sigh* I wish I could write about art as beautifully as he does.

Here are some of my favorite lines from this chapter, some are the authors quotes some are quotes from artists he covered in this chapter. They all relate to the Surrealist art movement.

  • Surrealism was all about “how shall I be free” it was about dreams, mystery, fear, strange encounters. It made dreams feel real, where odd things merge.

  • “beautiful is the encounter of a sewing machine and umbrella on an operating table.”

  • Irrational in art is essential

  • painting is a mirror of a time

  • snapshots of the impossible

  • theater of memory

My favorite is the quote from Man Ray, “The world is full of wonderful craftsmen but there are few practical dreamers.”