Inside the Magnetic Fields

Review in Broken Pencil
Jan 21, 2020

"In part, this is a memoir of the now 77-year-old American writer and artist Penelope Rosemont's encounters with the giants of surrealism and how those encounters shaped her. But it’s also a book of wonderful mini-essays describing and paying tribute to a whole host of largely forgotten, fascinating figures—underground artists, publishers and public dissenters who set the stage for waves of cultural production dedicated, to paraphrase Andre Breton, to hunting down the mad beast of conventionality. In these pages you will meet, for instance, Canadian trailblazing surrealist painter Mimi Parent, a flamboyant expatriate relocated to Paris where she spent her days scorning art-world greed and making works like this one, described by Rosemont: 'Another painting, aglow with four different kinds of radiance, portrays a gray sky filled by a gray eagle whose talons reach through the very walls of the Bastille to clutch two frilly female dolls.' Vivid arts writing that makes you yearn to see the work, combined with an insistence that Surrealism and its many spinoffs may still yet lead to the 'transformation of everyday life.' In this book, Rosemont reaffirms the revolutionary potential and enduring practice of the non-hierarchical arts."

Review in Hyperallergic
Dec 14, 2019

"The cumulative effect of these [essays] and Rosemont's other historical pieces is the reader's realization that so much of progressive history has disappeared from dominant narratives. . . . Rosemont is careful to champion art and joy as well as activism—and she emphasizes that creativity and humor are essential to a true mental revolution. . . . Perhaps most poignantly, these encounters add up to an indelible portrait of Ted Joans himself as another revolutionary artist and thinker who had a profound effect on those around him, but who is obscure in the dominant narrative of U.S. culture. Rosemont’s collection should go far in restoring Joans and many others to a more equitable 'canon,' while also reminding us of a time when artists, poets, and activists worked together toward a deeply lived vision of societal change."––Marcella Durand

"On the Humorous Surrealism of Mimi Parent"
Nov 14, 2019

An excerpt from Surrealism: Inside the Magnetic Fields published in Lit Hub.

- Penelope Rosemont

"To Be Mary MacLane"
Dec 5, 2019

An excerpt from Surrealism: Inside the Magnetic Fields, published online in The Paris Review.

- Penelope Rosemont

"A Century of Surrealism"
Nov 25, 2019

Penelope Rosemont interviewed by Sasha Lilley on KPFA's Against the Grain.

"A century ago, out of the carnage of World War One and the wave of revolutions that swept Europe, came an artistic movement that put personal and societal liberation at its center: surrealism. Penelope Rosemont, a later member of the movement, discusses the art and politics of surrealism—and her own personal history within and beyond it."