MoMA opens Exquisite Corpses. Drawing and Disfiguration

MoMA presents Exquisite Corpses. Drawing and Disfiguration, an exhibition on view March 14, 2012–July 09, 2012.

Cadavre Exquis with Yves Tanguy, Joan Miró, Max Morise, and Man Ray, Nude, 1926-27. Composite drawing of ink, pencil, and colored pencil on paper. 14 1/8 x 9″. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Purchase. © 2012 / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris.

In a collaborative, chance-based drawing game known as the exquisite corpse, Surrealist artists subjected the human body to distortions and juxtapositions that resulted in fantastic composite figures. This exhibition considers how this and related operations – in which the body is dismembered or reassembled, swollen or multiplied, propped with prosthetics or fused with nature and the machine – recur throughout the twentieth century and to the present. Artists from André Masson and Joan Miró, to Louise Bourgeois and Robert Gober, to Mark Manders and Nicola Tyson, distort and disorient our most familiar of referents, playing out personal, cultural, or social anxieties and desires on unwitting anatomies. If art history reveals an unending impulse to render the human figure, as a symbol of potential perfection and a system of primary organization, these works show that artists have just as persistently been driven to disfiguration. The exhibition is organized by Samantha Friedman, Curatorial Assistant, with Jodi Hauptman, Curator, Department of Drawings, The Museum of Modern Art. –

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