From Joseph Cornell’s curious found-object boxes to Jess’s fantastical “paste-ups,” there’s still time to discover the seemingly limitless ways that modern and contemporary artists have mixed materials to create something entirely new and surprising at the Philadelphia Museum of Art – including the fantastical “Stein-Toklas Dollhouse“, which took collector and historian Judith Young-Mallin over 20 years to put together and includes miniatures by Man Ray, Florine Stettheimer, Elsa Schiaparelli, and William Wegman.
The house is currently on exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and part of The Art of Collage and Assemblage, which runs until 2nd September 2019 and features prominently in the book, A Surreal Archive: The Young-Mallin Collection at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, published last year.
Presented in conjunction with Souls Grown Deep: Artists of the African American South, the exhibition explores the rich breadth and history of assemblage and collage and features many self-taught artists who reinvented their chosen mediums.
Purchased in the 1970s, the collector and historian Judith Young-Mallin spent more than two decades filing the house’s three stories with more than 140 objects, including replicas of famous Surreal artworks as well as originals by artists like Man Ray, Florine Stettheimer, Elsa Schiaparelli, and William Wegman.
A Surreal Archive is a limited-edition publication explores Judith Young-Mallin’s unique archival collection of photographs, correspondence, ephemera, audiovisual material, rare books, and artwork, acquired by the Museum in 2015. It’s a creative reinterpretation of Young-Mallin’s collection by artist Tammy Nguyen, drawing from archival materials, this delightfully quirky book celebrates the spirit of the Surrealist circle in New York and Young-Mallin’s role as friend, host, and collector.
A pop-up version of the infamous dollhouse that Young-Mallin commissioned and populated with original works of art and dolls modelled after Man Ray, Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, and others is included in the centre of the fold-out book, which comes with a 16-page booklet that offers an overview of the collection along with appreciations of Young-Mallin and her world by authors Glen Berger and Mark Polizzotti.
Judith Young-Mallin is an accomplished art collector, cultural historian, archivist, interviewer, author, and cook. First and foremost, however, she is an expert on Surrealism in New York. Noting that she too has a “slanted perspective on things,” Young-Mallin felt a kinship with these artists and the way they “kept their eyes open and looked at things differently.” Over the years, she made a point of meeting many of them, including luminaries such as Carol Janeway, Leonora Carrington, Noma Copley, Juliet Man Ray, and Dorothea Tanning. Along the way there were innumerable conversations, interviews, exhibition openings, art acquisitions, parties, and very memorable meals at her West Village apartment—a work of art in itself.
Born in 1984, Tammy Nguyen received a BFA from the Cooper Union in 2007 and an MFA from the Yale School of Art in 2013. A multimedia artist working with geopolitics, science, and less known histories, she is founder of the Passenger Pigeon Press. Her work has been collected by Yale University, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, MIT Library, and the Museum of Modern Art Library.
• The Art of Collage and Assemblage runs until 2nd September 2019 in the Collab Gallery, the Perelman Building at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2600 Benjamin Franklin Parkway, Philadelphia, PA 19130 United States | If you can’t make it there are some images of the exhibition online
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