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I don't know just how many people out there are freaks about viewing Surrealist books in person, but MOMA has quite a collection. As a teacher of artist book courses, I've viewed some of MOMA's library archives, and holding these rare beauties is kind of like fondling the Holy Grail, in fact it's better than that in my opinion. Way better. On the bottom floor of the museum, there are usually a couple vitrines featuring artists books, but this show listed below should be especially GREAT. I am dreaming of seeing these books while I hole up on the other coast temporarily, which maybe, in Surrealist terms, is about the same as seeing them in life. Or, maybe not. Author and rocker, Richard Hell, whose fiction I can heartily recommend, wrote with the following exciting news:

"At the Museum of Modern Art there is an exhibition on view in the Education building. It fills six vitrines with marvelous, rare--mostly illustrated--books as well as many info-packed labels. There is also a big flat-screen digital wall display. The exhibition is called "How to Make a Modern Art Library: Selections from the Eluard-Dausse Collection." Eluard is Paul Eluard, the major Surrealist poet, and Dausse is a physician who was a friend of (and physician to!) the Surrealists in the 1920s-'30s and a collector of their books. The Surrealists' books were consistently beautifully designed and illustrated, and Sheelagh uses a carefully chosen, sumptuous selection of them to describe how the acquisition of the two book/ephemera collections at once in the mid-'30s helped form the way the new Museum of Modern Art evolved the style, values, and methods of its library."

The exhibit is on display until June 22. There's a detailed account of the contents at

So, I implore you from California: Have a look at these gorgeous historical sexy strange books and let me know how they look in their papery flesh!

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Max Ernst


Literature Of Transgression
Surrealist Art