The Baker Museum Exhibition Lecture Surrealist Visions
Stephanie D’Alessandro, Ph.D., Leonard A. Lauder Curator of Modern Art and Senior Research Coordinator in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art
While we often turn to the word “surreal” to describe experiences in our lives today, Surrealism is a revolutionary idea sparked in Paris around 1924. Spurred by the writings of Sigmund Freud and the experience of World War I, Surrealist poets and artists turned to the unconscious to upend convention and reenergize human experience—and many Surrealists still do so today. Surrealism prioritizes the unconscious and dreams over the familiar and everyday, and can be a radical form of questioning. This lecture will consider Surrealism and the nature of appearances—and, in particular, René Magritte’s efforts to make “ordinary objects shriek out loud.”
Stephanie D’Alessandro is the Leonard A. Lauder curator of modern art and senior research coordinator in the department of modern and contemporary art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Before joining the Met in 2017, she was Gary C. and Frances Comer curator of international modern art at the Art Institute of Chicago and organized such exhibitions as Matisse: Radical Invention, 1913-17 (2010), Picasso and Chicago (2013), Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926-38 (2014), and Tarsila do Amaral: Inventing Modern Art in Brazil (2017). At the Met, she curated Provocations: Anselm Kiefer in the Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (2018) and Surrealism Beyond Borders (2021). She has published widely on international modernism and, in 2011, was a Center for Curatorial Leadership fellow. From 2017 to 2021, in addition to her role in the department, she served as curator in charge of the Leonard A. Lauder Research Center for Modern Art and now sits on the advisory committee. D’Alessandro holds a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.
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