Skip to main content


Baumbach--Summer Landscape.jpg

Harold Baumbach, Summer Landscape (1935). View full-size image

Social surrealists based their work on "life in the real, physical world" while "retaining their focus on social problems" (Fort). Surrealism "enabled American artists to intensify the power of their social-political statements and thus to present familiar aspects of American life in a new perspective" (Fort). This exhibit arranges the many aspects of Social Surrealism in the New Deal Gallery (NDG) into five sections. After a brief history of surrealism in the '30s, a redefined surrealism or bio-surrealism is defined and recognized as the modern term for social surrealism, dealing with surreal images of climate change in our world today. As the effects of climate change becoming more evident, modern artists create surreal pieces to either highlight or juxtapose the commonly overlooked human disturbances. Social surrealism in the '30s is more similar to surreal themes of today than one would think. This exhibit addresses those similarities and their contrasting nature. 

Work Consulted

—Fort, Ilene S. "American Social Surrealism." Archives of American Art Journal 22, no. 3 (1982); 8-20. 

Credits: Julia Caldwell, Elana Evenden, Yadelin Fernandez, Ben Michalak, Skye Rose