Art Diary

Objects of Desire: Surrealism and Design 1924–Today

7 October 2022

This display of around 350 works at the Design Museum, London, explores the influence of Surrealists from Dalí to Duchamp and beyond on the decorative arts, fashion and film. Taking an absurdist eye to everyday objects, artists such as Meret Oppenheim and May Ray were renowned for recreating household objects in an unusual fashion, whether Oppenheim’s fur-covered teacup or Man Ray’s flat iron spiked with nails – such found-object works were obliquely referred to in Renee Magritte’s This is a Piece of Cheese (c. 1936–37), included in this show, which depicts the cheese as a miniature canvas placed upon pedestal. The exhibition highlights the work of fashion photographers such as Lee Miller who brought Surrealism to the pages of Vogue, and looks beyond Surrealism to pieces by contemporary artists such as Sarah Lucas who, in works such as Cigarette Tits (1999), reveal the continuing influence of the movement. The exhibition also includes a number of the most famous Surrealist objects, including Dalí’s Lobster Telephone. Find out more on the Design Museum’s website.

Lobster Telephone (1938), Salvador Dalí. Photo: West Dean College of Arts and Conservation; © Salvador Dalí, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, DACS 2022

Cigarette Tits [Idealized Smokers Chest II] (1999), Sarah Lucas. Courtesy of Sadie Coles HQ, London; © Sarah Lucas