Wolfgang Paalen

Artist and Theorist of the Avant-Garde

by Amy Winter

Print Flyer
Abortion in the United States

November 2002


Pages 336
Volumes 1
Size 6 1/8x9 1/4
Topics Popular Culture/Media, Television, and Radio

Both critic and artist, Wolfgang Paalen was a highly influential figure in the culture of the Modernist movements of the 20th century. His work significantly informed Abstract Expressionism, especially with his periodical ^IDYN^R, published from 1942-1944, which became a seminal work for painters of that time. This is the first book-length work to demonstrate his importance and bring together the contexts—philosophical, scientific, anthropological, political, and cultural—in which he worked. Thus it provides a study not only of Paalen himself, but of the relationships between modernist art movements of Europe and America, including Expressionism, Cubism, and Surrealism—and the cultural, social, and political histories in which they developed.

Carefully and thoroughly detailing the events of Paalen's life and the formation of his thinking, author Amy Winter shows how his biography, art, and thought come together in the six issues of ^IDYN^R, which continued an exploration initiated by the Surrealists and other avant-gardes, and which delved into many problems which have preoccupied art in the last two decades. Utilizing material gathered for the first time, including personal interviews and archives never before consulted, Winter offers a vivid portrayal of a painter, philosopher, critic, collector, journalist, editor, historian, and ethnographer—in short, a 20th-century renaissance man.

Table of Contents

Theoretical and Political Origins in Austria and Germany
À Paris: 1928-1935
Through a Glass Darkly: 1936-1939
Surrealism in Mexico/Mexico in Surrealism: Prelude to Exile
The New World
New York School Days
DYN 1 (April-May 1942), DYN 2 (July 1942), DYN 3 (Fall 1942): The First Three Issues
Totem Lessons: The Northwest Coast and the "Amerindian" Number of DYN 4-5 (December 1943), and DYN 6 (November 1944)
Cosmic Creation
The New Man in Barnett Newman
Chaotic Magnificence



[W]inter should be counted among the long list of talented women detectives....Whether we look from inside or outside the bubble, and however we describe or define that bubble,the incontrovertible evidence is in: Paalen deserves the mantle of the DYNamist, the man who devoted his life to the belief that the totemic object and the junction of art and science could reveal the untapped energy of the possible.—College Art Association

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