Art: Remembrance of Things Past

Prominently displayed in the gallery window were three rubber female breasts, mounted on velvet. Any knowledgeable Parisian recognized the signs immediately: the Surrealists were back. Up the 21 steps—which 1,500 curious Parisians climbed on the opening day—was Surrealism's first international show since 1938.

It has been 23 years since Poet Andre Breton rattled the saucers in Left Bank cafes with his "First Manifesto of Surrealism," a compound of Freudianism and calculated nonsense. In those days, Marcel Duchamp (who drew U.S. catcalls in 1913 with his Nude Descending the Staircase) got high critical acclaim when he filled a birdcage full of marble...

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