Surrealism Is a Thing: Rubrics and Objectivation in the Surrealist Periodical, 1924–2015

What links the existing international surrealist movement—a network of groups who publish their essays and collective experiments in an array of print and online periodicals—to the 20th-century Surrealism of art history textbooks is, to a large extent, its periodical publishing practices. This article pays particular attention to the periodical rubric (defined as a heading or category under which a certain kind of text or image serially appears) and contextualizes its surrealist use within a broader poetics of “objectivation.” In Surrealism, objectivation is the creation of a “thing,” which is to say a form of doing or thinking that acquires a name and locus around which a social collectivity can coalesce. The article explores this process as it becomes manifest in the various rubrics used in surrealist periodicals past and present.

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