Tuesday, November 16, 2010

MEETING NOTES: We got the Farm

January 9, 2012
At yesterday's meeting of the Seligmann Center for Surrealism, James observed at how well we were all behaving. How Robert's Ruly we were. How bourgeois, I believe, was a term that crept in a few times.  I noted, weakly, that at one earlier meeting we had done an Exquisite Corpse... (see way below). As the words left my mouth I could feel their airiness. One lousy little tiny drawing 14 months ago!   He challenged me to respond like I was creating one of the experimental workshops I do in Imaginal Objects or whatever it is I do. I limply rose to the occasion: "Well, OK, I'll plan something for one of our next regularly scheduled meetings."   He was politely tolerant. Luckily, my indomethicin has worn off and I now have a plan:

From this moment on, anyone experiencing the urge to act in or out can do so by contacting one other person on the Seligmann Surrealism Committee and find a time to meet to do whatever seems inappropriate in a less than obvious place.
With at least two people involved, the chance and power of the unconscious is protected from looming ego. Similarly, the off-the scene location, obscene, I believe is the Latin, protects again, from unbridled consciousness. Such guides also encourage visitors to have the more or less profound experience of discovering something: the blow of the unexpected. Surrealists believed ALL people can be delighted creatively.

The "or not" came from a story about John Cage who, it is said, would go through elaborate directions for a particular event and end by saying "or not"
So Be It.           Who's Calling Who??

The Literary Roots of Surrealism:
from Janet Hamill, 12.07.10 I've heard back already, with a favorable nod to commitment, from Ron Padgett, Bill Zavatsky, Edwin Torres and Bob Holman. They're all quite enthusiastic about the festival, about reading at the festival and plans for a study center at the site.
Bob Holman would be willing to produce a Surreal play or two.
As of 12.9, Anne Waldman said she'd come to the festival!! Watch her (years ago)
I'm waiting to write again to John Ashbery.

If night was endless, There would be nothing more, nothing, nothing at all.
Louis Aragon & Georges Sadoul

About 50 miles upstate from New York City is home of Kurt Seligmann, a prominent member of the Surrealist Movement. He died in 1962 and his wife lived on these 55 acres of hills, meadows, wetlands and buildings till 1991. She bequeathed the entire property to the Citizens of Orange County.

Hmmm, an oasis of surrealism in a county of onions, apples and plein air painters.   How appropriate!

It is a beautiful piece of land and together with several buildings invokes a genius loci
There is indeed a Spirit of Place.

November 16, 2010   The Start
A group of us in Orange County are beginning to meet and discuss possible activities, events presences for some time starting in 2012. This is the Exquisite Corpse from our first meeting last week at a local diner -->

We are asking many different questions:
Is this a good time to revisit and re-present Surrealism?  
How can this land and these buildings assist in that?
What is the relationship of the rural and the surreal?

We invite comments about surrealism, Seligmann...


  1. Q.Is this a good time to revisit and re-present Surrealism?
    A. Perhaps we can begin with the question "what exactly do we want to discuss about surrealism in this the twenty-first century? There are so many aspects of the time period, the literary movement and ultimately the art movement—Surrealism. I believe it is important to understand as an art movement Surrealism may have fallen out of popular favor but it has never disappeared so to speak, I am curious what would the premise be for opening up a "new discussion?
    Q. How can this land and these buildings assist in that?
    A. I believe that the fact that Marcel Duchamp, Yves Tanguy, Kate Sage (who is by the way about to get an exhibition at the Katonah Museum in Westchester—hummmm maybe that is a way of connection to the ongoing discourse of Surrealism) and Marc Chagall all visited Kurt and Arlette in Sugar Loaf is significant; given the fact that the archive has several photos of these meetings over the course of years makes the connection all the more tangible.
    Q. What is the relationship of the rural and the surreal?
    There is a significant visual connection between Kurt’s late work and the gardens of the Seligman farm. The theme of regeneration and transformation is a reoccurring motif, quite unlike the earlier dance macabre paintings and prints.

  2. Lots to talk about, Susan!
    One of my interests in Surrealism now is the rooty connection to war. Surrealism was, the way I choose to understand, a response to the Great War, and then WWII. We are now in a Perpetual War and the lessons of the Surrealists, their tracks and furrows are more important than ever.

    Also, Seligmann's forthright relationship with Psyche, and particularly Shadow, interests me. Is there any evidence of Seligmann's interest or connection with Carl Jung?