For Immediate Release
November 5, 2015

Williamstown, Massachusetts—In celebration of the publication of The Challenge of Surrealism: The Correspondence of Theodor W. Adorno and Elisabeth Lenk (Minnesota University Press)the Clark Art Institute will hold a panel discussion on the political and aesthetic history of Surrealism and its continuing relevance today. The discussion, free and open to the public, will be held in the Michael Conforti Pavilion on Saturday, November 21 at 3 pm. Panelists include Berlin-based philosophers Rita Bischof and Elizabeth Lenk, translator and editor Sarah H. Gillespie, and Samantha Rose Hill, the Hannah Arendt Center Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow at Bard College. Christian Thorne, associate professor of English at Williams College, moderates.

A display from the Clark’s rare books collection of materials on Dada and Surrealism will accompany the presentation.
In 1962, a politically active Elisabeth Lenk moved to Paris, joined André Breton’s Surrealist group, and persuaded Theodor W. Adorno to supervise her sociology dissertation on the Surrealists. Adorno, though critical of Surrealism, agreed. The Challenge of Surrealism presents their correspondence, written between 1962 and Adorno’s death in 1969, as well as essays authored by Lenk. The letters offer a fresh look into Adorno’s view of Surrealism and the student movements in 1960s France and Germany, while Lenk’s essays and Bischof’s introduction argue that there is a legitimate connection between Surrealism and political resistance that still holds true today.


The Clark Art Institute, located in the Berkshires of western Massachusetts, is one of a small number of institutions globally that is both an art museum and a center for research, critical discussion, and higher education in the visual arts. Opened in 1955, the Clark houses exceptional European and American paintings and sculpture, extensive collections of master prints and drawings, English silver, and early photography. Acting as convener through its Research and Academic Program, the Clark gathers an international community of scholars to participate in a lively program of conferences, colloquia, and workshops on topics of vital importance to the visual arts. The Clark library, consisting of more than 240,000 volumes, is one of the nation’s premier art history libraries. The Clark also houses and co-sponsors the Williams College Graduate Program in the History of Art.

The Clark is located at 225 South Street in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Galleries are open Tuesday through Sunday, 10 am to 5 pm. Admission is $20; free year-round for Clark members, children 18 and younger, and students with valid ID. For more information, visit or call 413 458 2303.

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