Event Title

Ethnography and the Surrealist Lens: Photographer Roger Parry and André Malraux’s Le Musée Imaginaire

Presenter Information

Mallory Cohen, Oberlin College

Location

Science Center, A155

Start Date

4-24-2015 4:00 PM

End Date

4-24-2015 5:30 PM

Abstract

My research examines the photographs of sculpture in Le Musée Imaginaire (1947), a text by André Malraux, in the context of the surrealists’ fascination with the nonwestern “other.” Many have written on Malraux’s well-known book of art theory. Yet Roger Parry, the artist who photographed many of the nonwestern sculptures central to Malraux’s text, has been largely overlooked by scholars. Using discourses on photography and surrealism, images of ethnographic objects in avant-garde journals, and studies of Malraux, this paper argues that Parry’s photography lends the eastern objects in Le Musée Imaginaire a western, modernist aesthetic—one that complicates Malraux’s universalizing vision for the world’s art.

Notes

Session 3, Panel 16 - Making Modernism: Music/Text/Image
Moderator: Jared Hartt, Associate Professor of Music Theory

Major

Art History

Advisor(s)

Bonnie Cheng, Art History

Project Mentor(s)

Sarah Hamill, Art History

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Apr 24th, 4:00 PM Apr 24th, 5:30 PM

Ethnography and the Surrealist Lens: Photographer Roger Parry and André Malraux’s Le Musée Imaginaire

Science Center, A155

My research examines the photographs of sculpture in Le Musée Imaginaire (1947), a text by André Malraux, in the context of the surrealists’ fascination with the nonwestern “other.” Many have written on Malraux’s well-known book of art theory. Yet Roger Parry, the artist who photographed many of the nonwestern sculptures central to Malraux’s text, has been largely overlooked by scholars. Using discourses on photography and surrealism, images of ethnographic objects in avant-garde journals, and studies of Malraux, this paper argues that Parry’s photography lends the eastern objects in Le Musée Imaginaire a western, modernist aesthetic—one that complicates Malraux’s universalizing vision for the world’s art.