The story of Salvador Dalí and the Surrealist movement if it were to happen today on social media. It’s Moulin Rouge meets Silicon Valley!
One 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 art fight club, their goal was to save humanity by embracing the absurd and nonsensical. Now we are bringing them back to life by putting Salvador Dalí, Rene Magritte, Frida Kahlo, and friends into 2022, arming them with today’s technology and social media, and letting them go bananas! They engage in avant-garde pranks, make viral videos, get famous, do drugs, throw orgies, sell out, and fight among themselves. But it’s not just them, we’re taking all that early 20th-century history and dragging it into the 21st. Dalí and his squad are posting dope surreal videos on their feeds, while Charlie Chaplin and Louis Armstrong are dropping Tik Toks, Sigmund Freud is giving Ted Talks, and a menacing autocrat named Adolf Hitler is writing very mean tweets.
By melding these centuries together we will be able to use these iconic figures from history to comment on the issues of their day that persist in ours: fascism, war, plague, fake news, sexual repression, gender equality and identity, commercialism, drug abuse, celebrity, social justice and how to make sense of all it with art. Subbing in bohemian Brooklyn as a modern Montmartre, we will be telling the very sur-real story of how a movement that started with the intent of saving the world was transformed into a pop-culture sensation, and ultimately disbanded in chaos.
The rock star of the movement, Salvador Dalí uses and masters nearly every digital platform to market his talents and promote his brand. He is the 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!
Modern Day Comps: Kanye West, David Blaine, Sacha Baron-Cohen
Peggy Guggenheim is the cutthroat, business-minded, media mogul who puts the Surrealists on the map when she introduces them to the world on her blog, "The Guggenheim Post," bringing them a flood of commercial opportunities. Her role as the group’s brand ambassador puts 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 100 years ago.
Comps: Cersei Lannister, Elizabeth Holmes, Kris Jenner, Anna Wintour
A former Freudian 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, mind experiments, and homework assignments. His frustration builds as corners are cut and pledges of anti-materialism go up in flames in the service of fame and fortune. Ultimately we learn that Breton is using his “revolution of the mind” to cover a hole in his heart left by the tragic death of his secret lover, Jacques Vaché.
Comps: Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs, Max Fischer (Rushmore)
René Magritte is the debonair and introspective member of the group. His graffiti paintings, AR videos, and fashion label are immensely popular. Magritte, however, suffers from crippling social anxiety and must navigate his fame by covering his face in public with a bandana that bears his signature apple logo. Nevertheless, his thought-provoking art and mysterious persona only make people more fascinated with him.
Comps: Tom Ford, Banksy, Daft Punk
Max Ernst is the cuddly, yet clumsy, voice of white-male wokeness. He escaped Germany’s intolerant society to join the free-thinking Surrealists and make subversive art that would undermine fascism. Though constantly putting his foot in his mouth while trying to prove it, Max is also the supportive feminist boyfriend of Peggy Guggenheim. Together, the two endure the ups and downs of their polyamorous relationship.
Comps: Zach Galifianakis, Jermaine Clement, Chewbacca
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. Ray’s attachment to the camera has a downside: He can never seem to experience the world with his own eyes and his real life never feels as fulfilling as it looks on social media. Ray’s girlfriend, Kiki de Montparnasse, is also an artist/model/influencer, and the two of them rarely have an interaction when one of them isn’t filming it.
Comps: Wes Anderson, John Wilson, Annie Lebowitz
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 wavers, often outperforming them and accentuating it with with a cold Spanglish one-liner, delivered with a blunt in hand. It is at the home of Frida and her husband Diego, that Breton temporarily escapes the turmoil of the sparring Surrealist factions and has a pivotal meeting with another revolutionary in exile, Leon Trotsky.
Comps: Janelle Monae, Aubrey Plaza, Zendaya