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Image: Claude Lê Anh


"Freedom is not given; one has to take it.



MÉRET OPPENHEIM, ARTIST


“Artists are expected to lead the kind of life that suits them – and his fellow citizens turn a blind eye to that. But if a woman does the same thing, then the eye pops open…As a woman, one is obliged to prove, via one’s lifestyle, that one no longer regards as valid the taboos that have been used to keep women in a state of subjugation for thousands of years. Freedom is not given; one has to take it.


Artist Méret Oppenheim outlined her feelings about the challenges of being female and an artist, in 1975 after receiving the Basel Art Prize. Her creative output reveals only superficial reference to movements, markets, and gender, connecting to the artists or contemporary styles surrounding her only if it served her aims. “I have become known as a maker of Surrealist objects,” she said, “But they were the least of my endeavors. I thought of myself as a picture-maker.”


Born in Berlin in 1913, Oppenheim grew up in Switzerland with her mother, while her father fought for Germany in World War 1. In the aftermath of the war, she was exposed to the abundance of creativity sweeping Europe. German Expressionism, French Impressionism, Modernism, Fauvism, and Cubism; poetry, literature, theater – all within her young orbit. Aged eighteen, with the singular ambition to become an artist she moved to France, positioning herself into the heart of Paris’ dynamic art scene, then the center of the art world.


Throughout the ‘30s she was at the eye of a creative storm. She had quickly become known as a challenging, uncompromisingly artist who fought mediocrity and took on the—largely male—establishment. Her friends list reads like a page from the Who’s Who of great artists; Picasso, Man Ray, Breton, Duchamp, Ernst Arp, and Giacometti were all part of her inner circle. Oppenheim was immersed, committed, full of energy and Paris wanted more. But it wasn’t to last and towards the end of the decade, for Paris, Europe, and Oppenheim herself, everything was about to change.


Her German Jewish father, now a successful and well-respected doctor, was unable to practice under new antisemitic legislation and was forced into exile. For Oppenheim, the most exciting and creative part of her artistic life was over. She returned to Switzerland with an established reputation, but the effect of being forced out of the creative cauldron of Pais and now isolated by another world war, depression took hold. For over a decade she worked only very intermittently as an artist, destroying much of her existing work.


It was only in the mid 1950s that her desire for a creative life returned. “I recovered my pleasure in making pictures very suddenly in late 1954,” she said. I just walked out the door and rented a studio.”


Her work explored themes of reality and imagination, sensuality, and desire. It can be fearless and delicate, serious and humorously playful. We, the viewer, can—and do—try to categorize her. Often dadaist, or surrealist, other times post-modern or punk; whatever suits the context or conversation. So, while they can all be correct for us, for Oppenheim it was also about breaking those taboos of subjugation and about taking her freedom.

More from Méret Oppenheim at the bottom of the Muse.




LIVE PERFORMANCE NOT TO MISS!

Saturday, June 29, 6–8pm

JOIN US FOR A SPECIAL PERFORMANCE BY STUDIO TWO!


COME OUTSIDE and find the 1960s on your summer doorstep! Dive into a concert of classic Beatles songs delivered by Studio Two with their original energy, swing, and sound. You'll be transported in time – and you'll love them yeah, yeah, yeah!

at the Hyannis Village Green Bandstand


@artsbarnstable @guyerbarn @hyartsprogrammingannex


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ART CLASSES

with Sandra Jean Ceas


Wednesday, June 19, 10am–1pm

PAINTING WITH A LIMITED PALETTE

Member: $48 – Non-Member: $54


Wednesday, June 19, 1:30 –4:30pm

DRAWING FROM THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BRAIN (Session A)

Member: $48 – Non-Member: $54




Details & booking
Details & booking

Thursday, June 20, 10am–1pm;

& 1:30–4:30pm

DRAWING FROM THE RIGHT HEMISPHERE OF THE BRAIN

SESSION B

with Sandra Jean Ceas


Member: $48

Non-Member: $54

Morning
Afternoon

Wednesday, June 19,

5:30–7:30pm

PROFESSIONAL CRITIQUE

with artist Sandra Jean Ceas


Member: $40

Non-Member: $45

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Friday, June 21, 5:30–8pm;

Saturday, June 22, 5:30–8pm

PALETTE: SUPPER CLUB BRAZILLIAN INSPIRED

with Chef Nicholas Caplice



$60

Friday
Saturday

Saturday, June 22, 7:30pm

BOSSA! SAMBA! AI CARAMBA!

with the Fred Fried / Marcelle Gauvin Quartet


$25

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Monday, June 24, 6–8pm

THALI DINNER

with Chef Nicholas Caplice


Member: $50

Non-Member: $55

Details & booking

Thursday, June 27, 4–6pm

IRISH COOKING, STORIES & SONG

with Aoife Clancy


Member: $37

Non-Member: $40

Details & booking

CALLS FOR ART

We have an array of new exhibitions planned over the summer and we are looking for diverse, unique, and powerful work to make them a must-see for our visitors. From year-round installations to thought-provoking political prompts – the second half of 2024 is going to be great and we can't wait to see your responses to our calls.



Submission details

Friday, June 28, 5–7pm

OPENING RECEPTION FOR "CALL ME WHEN YOU GET OVER THE BRIDGE"

HyArts Programming Annex


FREE

Details

Friday, June 28, 5:30–8pm

Saturday, June 29, 5:50–8pm

PALETTE: SUPPER CLUB – INDIGENOUS CUISINE

with Chef Nicholas Caplice


FRIDAY SOLD OUT!


$60

Saturday

Saturday, June 29, 6–8pm

STUDIO TWO – THE EARLY BEATLES TRIBUTE

at the Village Green Bandstand, Hyannis


Price: $30

Details & booking
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