What would Salvador Dalí be up to if he were in his prime today? Would René Magritte be putting out on Instagram? How many follows would Frida Kahlo have? Pig Apple presents a show that will answer this and so many other questions you never knew you had.
One a hundred years ago, with the world on the brink of chaos and war, a pack of misfits called “The Surrealists” banded together to make art that would reject logic and reason. Sort of an indie garage band, an improv troupe, and a fight club all wrapped into one, their goal was to save humanity by embracing the absurd and nonsensical. In this series, we are bringing them back to life by dropping Dalí, Kahlo and friends into 2021, arming them with today’s technology and social media, and letting them go bananas! We will watch these creators respond with a Surrealist revolution to political troubles and societal ills that echo those of our own time. They will gather in their Paris clubhouse, engage in bizarre art projects and psychological experiments, get famous, do drugs, throw orgies, sell out, and fight amongst themselves. Or to put it more plainly: it’s Moulin Rouge meets Silicon Valley!
We will give viewers an extensive tour of this bizarro 21st century that parallels the history of the 1900s, using the tropes and mediums of today. Imagine Hitler is on Twitter, Charlie Chaplin is doing rom coms, Louis Armstrong is dropping suprise mix tapes, and Sigmund Freud is giving TED Talks. By bringing these iconic historical figures alive in our own times, we will illuminate the present and explore the ever-repeating patterns of human existence.
The rockstar of the movement, Salvador Dalí uses and masters nearly every digital platform to market his talents and promote his brand. Starting with his viral YouTube show (think “Pee-Wee’s Playhouse” if David Lynch directed it), Dalí goes on to become the kind of superstar whose fame rests in his ability to keep his fans guessing what his next move will be. He sets piles of cash on fire, makes a porno with kitchen appliances, fakes his own death—anything to keep the hit count up!
Peggy Guggenheim is the cutthroat, business-minded, media mogul who puts The Surrealists on the map when she discovers them, exposes them to the world on her blog ("The Guggenheim Post"), and brings them a flood of commercial opportunities. Her role as the group's "brand ambassador" but her at direct odds with its idealist leader, André Breton, and ultimately creates a schism within the group. Peggy's modern sensibilities and fluid sexuality make her as groundbreaking a woman today as she was one hundred years ago.
A former psychologist, André Breton is the solemn, anal, and pretentious leader of this nonsensical revolution. Though his stated goal is global anarchy, Breton wishes to achieve it with spreadsheets and homework assignments. This conflict builds as corners are cut and pledges of anti-materialism go up in flames in the way of fame and fortune. He’s like Steve Jobs if he were in charge of a book club. As the series goes on, we discover Breton’s conflict exists within, as well, as he struggles with his own repressed and deviant sexuality.
René Magritte is the debonair and introspective member of the group. While his graffiti paintings, AR videos, and fashion label are immensely popular, Magritte himself likes to stay out of the limelight, covering his face in public with a bandanna that bears his signature apple logo. Magritte is not, however, without indulgences. His mysterious style and French accent render him pretty irresistible with the ladies. Kind of like if Bansky and Daft Punk had a baby!
Max Ernst is the cuddly yet clumsy voice of white male ‘wokeness’. He escaped Germany’s intolerant society to join the free-thinking surrealists. Though constantly putting his foot in his mouth while trying to prove it, Max is also the very supportive feminist boyfriend of Peggy Guggenheim. The couple's meeting at a safari-themed orgy led to their first collaboration: a human/animal face-swapping app.
The lone American of the group, with a penchant for photography, Man Ray documents every step of the Surrealist movement on social media. He is the most hip-to-the-times among the members of the group, keeping up with all the latest trends and lingo. Constantly reaching for it at every meaningful moment, Ray’s attachment to the camera has a downside: He can never seem to experience the world with his own eyes and struggles to find any meaning in what appears on social media to be a very full life.
Frida Kahlo is in this world—as in real life—the queen of cool. Having built a massive following for her art, fashion, and films, she never seems shocked or shaken by her popularity. Occasionally jealous of her ability to create dazzling visuals and bed other beautiful women, Frida catches a lot of flack from her male peers. Yet she never waivers, outperforming them in both regards with a cold Spanglish one-liner and a blunt in hand.