Magic Realism and Modernism: An International Symposium

Magic Realism and Modernism: An International Symposium
Friday, March 20, 9:00 a.m to 4:00 p.m.
Historic Landmark Building, Hamilton Auditorium 

Over the last decade, scholars have been reconsidering the careers of mid-century artists like Peter Blume, George Tooker, Ivan Albright, and other Americans who used a realist method to invent their own worlds and transform the symbolic language of Old Master paintings into a contemporary idiom. These artists were often called “magic realists,” though few of the artists included in that umbrella agreed with it. This daylong symposium presented new research by renowned art historians that re-examined the important period of American cultural production in the 1940s and 1950s, including a more international context.

Listen to the presentations:

Robert Cozzolino's Welcome and Introduction

Kenneth Silver Realisms in Europe after the Great War

Mark Cole No Consensus: A History of Defining American Magic Realist Painting

Sandra Zalman ‘The Star of the Occasion’: Peter Blume and Magic Realism at MoMA

Michele Wijegoonaratna Magical Realism, Verism or Renaissance Redux?: Otto Dix’s Portraits and Self-Portraits from the 1920s

Amy Mooney The “Magic” Streets of Bronzeville: Archibald Motley’s Visionary Realism

Austin Porter The Politics of Representation: Magic Realism, Peter Blume and World War II


Funding for the symposium on Magical Realism was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.