By Ali Bush ’19
surreal is a not a normal art exhibit. The show in Pitzer’s Barbara Hinshaw’s gallery is a cozy, artistic experiment that questions what it means to dream. Organized by Danielle New (PZ ’19), the show explores the unconscious through poetry, photography, technology, and art. Students from the 5Cs, including studio art and neuroscience majors, contributed pieces that illustrate what surrealism means to them.
Located on the second floor of a the cozy Grove House, Surreal is not like the normal “white-cube” exhibit space. As you move through fuchsia drapes into the small room of the show, it is clear that this exhibition disrupts traditional modes of displaying art. While there are many flat, framed images hung on the walls, there are also very interactive pieces, such as a bed to lounge on and a dream journal to write in. The show also features an iPad station where you can look up songs from the top 100 Billboard charts of different years that contain the word “dream.” These interactive elements force visitors to really think about their own experiences with dreaming rather than simply viewing other artists’ imagery of dreams. Curator New explains that this interdisciplinary approach aims to “merge the divide between art and other forms of knowledge and expression”.
The show is accompanied by a zine that contains poetic statements by the featured artists. In this sense, the show encapsulates the deep connection between visual arts and the written word. New has successfully revealed that dreams can be approached from multiple angles: from painting, science, poetry, assemblage, and experiences. By expanding the idea as this show does, we destroy rigid lines between traditional high art and popular culture. This idea allows anyone to be an artist within any medium. surreal expands the idea of art, suggesting that there is no correct way to capture the human experience.