The Vice of Surrealism

Joan Miro:

He (Miro) seldom attended meetings or went to the right bank Cafe Cyrano, where the Surrealists gathered in those days. Miro's only recorded Surrealist action took place during the height of the Surrealist experiments in Paris, when it was decided that each member would carry out some form of public provocation. Robert Desnos, for example, said "Bonjour, madame," to a priest on the subway. Michel Leiris insulted a gendarme, and kept on doing so all the way to the police station, where he was held for 48 hours. Paul Eluard walked around a public square shouting, "Down with the Army! Down with France!" until he, too, landed in jail. Miro, who was also expected to commit some outrage, went out on the street one day and began saying, rather politely, "Down with the Mediterranean!" The other Surrealists were disgusted, but Miro argued that, because the Mediterranean was the cradle of Western culture, what he had really been saying was, "Down with everything." Breton even acknowledged, once, that "Miro may rank as the most Surrealist of us all."
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