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The Irrational and the Marvelous


The Irrational and the Marvelous exhibit at Des Moines Art Center (IA) celebrates both Dada and Surrealism, and features the work of Dada icons Marcel Duchamp and Hannah Höch, and surreal explorations by Leonora Carrington, Roberto Matta, and Dorothea Tanning, among others.

A little more than a century ago, a group of European artists banded together and formed Dada, an art movement that responded to the trauma of World War I and challenged the concept of fine art. Dada's irrational tactics later paved the way in the 1920s for Surrealism, a movement that encouraged participating artists to look to the subconscious for inspiration.


January 7, 2018 | 1:30pm - 3:00pm

This exhibition lecture by Assistant Curator Jared Ledesma features a rare opportunity to experience a live Dadaist piano performance in the sonorous I. M. Pei building. Music from the ballet work Relâche will be performed by pianist Sophia S. Ahmad under the Numen/For Use sculpture Tape Des Moines. Composed in 1924 by French pianist Erik Satie, the score for Relâche embodies the spirit of Dadaism through its unconventional, fragmented style, and was inspired by bawdy army songs and jazz.

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