ISSS Book Launch – Dark Toys: Surrealism and the Culture of Childhood

The International Society for the Study of Surrealism is delighted to present this virtual book launch of Dark Toys: Surrealism and the Culture of Childhood. Author David Hopkins will be in dialogue with Joyce Cheng, followed by an audience Q&A.

We all have memories of the object-world of childhood. For many of us, playthings and images from those days continue to resonate. Rereading a swathe of modern and contemporary artistic production through the lens of its engagement with childhood, this book blends in-depth art historical analysis with sustained theoretical exploration of topics such as surrealist temporality, toys, play, nostalgia, memory, and 20th-century constructions of the child. The result is an entirely new approach to the surrealist tradition via its engagement with “childish things.” Providing what the author describes as a “long history of surrealism,” this book plots a trajectory from surrealism itself to the art of the 1980s and 1990s, through to the present day. It addresses a range of figures from Marcel Duchamp, Giorgio de Chirico, Max Ernst, Hans Bellmer, Joseph Cornell, and Helen Levitt, at one end of the spectrum, to Louise Bourgeois, Eduardo Paolozzi, Claes Oldenburg, Susan Hiller, Martin Sharp, Helen Chadwick, Mike Kelley, and Jeff Koons, at the other.

David Hopkins is Professor Emeritus and Professorial Research Fellow at the University of Glasgow. His many books include Marcel Duchamp and Max Ernst: The Bride Shared (OUP, 1998), Dada’s Boys: Masculinity After Duchamp (Yale UP, 2007) and Virgin Microbe: Essays on Dada (edited with Michael White: Northwestern UP, 2014). He is the editor of the 2016 survey of the Dada-Surrealism research field A Companion to Dada and Surrealism and of widely-read text books including After Modern Art 1945-2017 ( 2nd edition, OUP 2018) and Dada and Surrealism: A Very Short Introduction ( OUP, 2004).

Joyce S. Cheng is associate professor in the Department of History of Art and Architecture at the University of Oregon (Eugene, Oregon, USA). She teaches courses in European modernism and the avant-garde from the perspectives of the visual arts, poetics, aesthetic theories, intellectual and cultural history. She has published articles and book chapters on Symbolism, Dada, Surrealism, and is currently finishing a book entitled The Persistence of Masks: Surrealism and the Ethnography of the Subject.

To order your free tickets, visit the Eventbrite page here.

You can purchase the book here.

We look forward to seeing you on Wednesday March 16th, 6:30 – 7:30 PM (GMT). Please check your own timezone.

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