Chicago Surrealist Group
The Chicago Surrealist Group was founded in Chicago, Illinois, in July 1966 by Franklin and Penelope Rosemont after a trip to Paris in 1965, during which they had been in contact with André Breton. Its initial members came from radical left-wing or anarchist backgrounds and had already participated in groups such as the IWW (calling themselves the Rebel Worker Group and putting out a magazine called the Rebel Worker) and SDS; indeed, the Chicago group edited an issue of Radical America, the SDS journal, and the SDS printshop printed some of the group's first publications.
Collaborations and projects
The group played a major role in organizing the World Surrealist Exhibition held at Gallery Black Swan in Chicago in 1976. As the name suggests, broader in scope than previous "international" exhibitions, it featured hundreds of works almost exclusively from contemporary participants in surrealism from thirty-one countries.
Marvelous Freedom/Vigilance of Desire was the name for the catalogue of the 1976 World Surrealist Exhibition. It contains a number of texts and reproductions, as well as a blueprint of the layout of the gallery, with the location of the different "domains" into which the exhibition was organised.
The Chicago Group has also collaborated on the surrealist issue of the journal Race Traitor, and the "Totems Without Taboos" show at the Heartland Cafe in Chicago. It sporadically publishes a newspaper entitled WHAT Are You Going To Do About It? and the journal Arsenal/Surrealist Subversion.
The Surrealist Movement in the United States was started by the Chicago Surrealist Group as a means of including many of its scattered participants from coast to coast on collective statements and in collective activities.
Participants in the group's activities have included Clarence John Laughlin, Gerome Kamrowski and Philip Lamantia. As participants past and present have been based in cities other than Chicago, the group has never been strictly defined by geography, despite its name. The group has worked with others, such as the Stockholm Surrealist Group, with which it met in Chicago and Stockholm in 1986, publishing the International Surrealist Bulletin No. 1.
The Chicago Surrealist Group has been frequently criticised. The Rain Taxi Review of Books once described them as being in "aesthetic stasis" and having an "orthodox interpretation" of surrealism. There are also numerous criticisms and denouncements of the Chicago Surrealist Group included in the reference section Arsenal.
- Spector, Jack J. (1997). Surrealist Art and Writing, 1919-1939: The Gold of Time. Cambridge University Press. p. 294. ISBN 0-521-55311-3.
- Rosemont, Penelope. Surrealist Experiences:1001 Dawns, 221 Midnights. Black Swan Press. p. 5. ISBN 0-941194-43-4.
- "Women and the Surrealist Revolution: an interview with Penelope Rosemont" by Danny Postel, in 'Exquisite Corpse: A Journal of Letters and Life'
- "Surrealism". Retrieved 2007-06-07.
Rosemont, Franklin and Charles Radcliffe. Dancin' in the Streets: Anarchists, IWWs, Surrealists, Situationists and Provos in the 1960s as Recorded in the Pages of Rebel Worker and Heatwave, Charles H Kerr. 2005. ISBN 0-88286-301-0