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Surrealist Art

This posting describes three Surrealist paintings and their explications.

Discuss each painting. First, describe each painting in vivid detail: What are the major features of the painting? What sort of color is used? Are objects and/or people realistic in appearance? Then, offer your personal interpretation of each work: What do you think each one means? What sort of feeling does it inspire in you, the viewer? What symbols are contained in the painting? What might the artist have been feeling or experiencing at the time he/she painted it? What world events might have contributed to its creation? Be sure to use APA citation.

Objective: Describe the characteristics of art styles of major art periods.
Identify and discuss works of art.
Explain the relationship between art and the society which creates it.
Analyze artwork to form conclusions about formal qualities, contexts, intents, and meanings.

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Piece #1

Artist's name: Sandy Skoglund

Title of painting: "Fox Games"

Image for Slide:

Creation date: 1989. She created and shipped "Fox Games" to the Centre Georges Pompidou
in Paris, France and to the Denver Museum of Art in Colorado.

The Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, France commissioned Fox Games in 1989 for an exhibition entitled, "The Invention of an Art," a history of photography celebrating the 150th anniversary of the invention of the medium (


Other details: She uses cibachrome color photograph; approx. image area 46 1/4" X 63"
Sculpted epoxy resin foxes and live models (

Please note how the artist takes a normal or everyday dining situation and throws in something totally extraordinary, the red foxes amid the diners. Critics compliment the artist for "her ability to infuse the ordinary with sly humor, mystery, and the surreal" ( The attention and viewers' eyes are drawn on the foxes with their stances and ferocity. The foxes are lifelike in stature and positions. People, too, look so realistic in appearance.

The foxes look so realistic. I believe that she is commenting on how selfish contemporary culture and humanity have become. People are dining while animals are suffering. She may be employing an animals rights theme into the work.

The red color of the foxes is quite vibrant to make them the focal points and the contrasts. Most of the people, diners and wait staff, are in black and white which makes a powerful contrast to the bright foxes. There are some hints of red color on a few people's faces to suggest embarrassment or anxiety. The chandelier's position is also perhaps a socioeconomic status symbol as well as the bread basket to suggest gluttony of the people.

In terms of meaning and symbolism, please also note that the color red could also represent the sexuality of society. People are often more concerned about sexuality and themselves than they are with connecting themselves to the Earth or animals. The red color could exploit this theme.
Since the title uses the word "games," it seems to suggest that the artist wanted a satirical look at society. She might be mocking society's falseness and greed. She could be comparing how humans, like foxes, are sly and cunning. ...

Solution Summary

This posting offers an overview of various pieces within this genre.