A Listen and Look at Forbidden Games: Surrealist and Modernist Photography (Videos)

Forbidden Games: Surrealist and Modernist Photography, is on view now through Sunday, January 11 at the Cleveland Museum of Art. Through 167 photographs and illustrated books, the collection tells two stories: one of a radical moment in early twentieth-century art and the other of impassioned collector David Raymond, whose adventurous spirit and vision harmonized perfectly with his subject. In our ongoing video series surrounding the exhibition, we take an inside look at Forbidden Games and examine the definition and influence of surrealist photography. 


What is surrealism? "It can be hard to define," said photo historian Ian Walker.Beginning in the 1990s, art collector and filmmaker David Raymond judiciously sought out vintage prints from the 1920s through the 1940s that reflect the eye in its wild state (l’oeil a l’état sauvage), remaining true to the spirit of André Breton, a founder of surrealism. Raymond’s holdings of surrealist and modernist photography were distinguished by their quality, breadth, and rarity of subject matter. In 2007, the Cleveland Museum of Art made a major, transformative acquisition by procuring that collection, one of the most important holdings of twentieth-century surrealist photography that remained in private hands. 

Featuring Walker, Raymond, and the museum's Curator of Photography, Barbara Tannenbaum, see how Forbidden Games challenges what we know - or thought we knew - about the surrealist movement.


Vertiginous camera angles, odd croppings, and exaggerated tones and perspectives are hallmarks of the two principal photographic movements of the period, surrealism and modernism. As with surrealist efforts in other media, artists making photographs also aimed to explore the irrational and the chance encounter—magic and the mundane—filtered through the unconscious defined by Sigmund Freud.But surrealism is all around us. See how everything is not always quite as it seems in this video clip with Tannenbaum.

Learn more about Forbidden Games: Surrealist and Modernist Photography, and see the exhibition FREE at the Cleveland Museum of Art through Sunday, January 11, 2015!


Video Spotlight: Dora Maar (Forbidden Games)


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