October 6, 2014
Both as a winsome collaborative nude model and as a medium-defying, inventive sculptor, MÉRET OPPENHEIM (1913–85) is an avatar of art’s Surrealist movement. Seeming to enjoy direct access to the realm of dreams and unconsciousness, in the 1930s the unpredictable German-born Swiss femme-enfant became the Surrealist’s sexy poster child. As Man Ray’s lover and model, she cavorted nude in surprising, uncanny ways for the camera. Alas, she is often remembered primarily for these images. But it’s worth recalling that at 1936, when she was only 22, Oppenheim blasted onto the Parisian arts scene with Object, the fur-lined teacup piece that MOMA calls the “quintessential Surrealist object”; and she’d go on to enjoy a long, dynamic career — including confabulations of fashion and high art like 1985’s Glove, a piece that lays bare the biological dimensions of aesthetics. As an artist, Oppenheim’s feats of transubstantiation were mesmerizing… and, above and beyond her actual productions, in the days before TMZ she was a risk-taking celebrity talent whose antics fueled the fishwrap.
On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Thor Heyerdahl.
READ MORE about men and women born on the cusp between the Partisan (1904-13) and New God (1914-23) Generations.