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Exquisite Corpses - a New Exhibit at MoMA



                                Left to Right:  Benedicte, Me, Teri, Pat

Benedicte, Teri, Pat, Judy and I went to the Museum of Modern Art yesterday to see the new Exquisite Corpses exhibit.  This was a surrealist game of the 1920s and 1930s - initially played by group construction of a sentence. 

The goal of the pictoral form of Exquisite Corpse is to form a picture rather than a sentence. The method for three players is as follows:

  • the first player draws the head
  • the second player draws the midsection
  • the third player draws the legs and feet

Each player folds the paper after finishing the drawing, hiding it from the next player. Usually a the picture extends past the fold just a little bit so that the next player's drawing will join with the first player's.  With more than 3 players, more folded sections are made and the body is divided up differently.

There were only 2 classic examples of Exquisite Corpses in the MoMA exhibit - the rest of the drawings and paintings were deformed-dysmorphic figures by single artists. 

This one was created by Yves Tanguy, Joan Miro, Max Morise, and Man Ray in 1926-7.  If you look carefully, you can see where they folded the paper as they passed it on to the next player.


We were inspired and went to the MoMA Sculpture Garden, to play our own game of Exquisite Corpse - with 4 players (Teri declined and worked in her sketchbook instead). 


         Left to Right:  Me, Judy, Pat, Benedicte (See Judy and Pat's blog entry here and here)

This was the one I started in the first round - with 5 folds.  I did the head and passed it on.  When it went around the circle and returned to me, I sketched the feet.


Here are all 4 created in the second round:


Of course it took us awhile to work out the simple rules - with much laughter - and fun.  We then headed off to lunch and 3 drawing exhibits at the Morgan Library. I love having "art buddies." 


It's funny how the second one turned out fairly masculine all the way down, while the first one is a female all the way. The last two are kind of androgynous -- true New Yorkers!

I love having art buddies (silly ones) too!

I love that game!! I've taught it to so many friends and it never fails to amuse. Great sketches for your Venice trip, too. I like the window. You really captured the age of it.

Terrific post Shirley! That first sketch of the window in Venice...beautiful! And this "game" of drawing people is a super idea! It would be so fun to do with my art students at school!

You and your art buddies always seem to have so much fun!

Oh fabulous Shirley. I do envy you going to all these wonderful exhibitions. Particularly this one. For a long time I've fancied. doing a collaborative artist's book in the exqusiste corple format. Of course, then you get even more mix and match because you slice the pages. Wonderful to go to the exhibition with people who would then sit down with you and have a go.

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