Tate Modern Talk

Dorothea Tanning: A Family Portrait

Dorothea Tanning Family Portrait 1954 Musée National d'Art Moderne - Centre Pompidou (Paris, France) Acquisition of the State in 1974. Center Pompidou, Paris. Musée national d'art moderne / Center de création industrielle

Join us for a conversation exploring the subversion of family values within Tanning's surrealist works

Dorothea Tanning grew up in the small town of Galesburg in rural Illinois where she said "nothing happened but the wallpaper." Many of Tanning's paintings explore the traditional image of the family and the home, frequently subverting 'family values'.

Considering Tanning's particular fascination with mothers, fathers, domestic space and female sexuality, this event aims to broaden our understanding of Tanning's work and Surrealism through the lens of these themes.

Speakers include artist Rachel Goodyear, curator Catriona McAra and ​Ami Bouhassane, curator and trustee at Lee Miller Archives & The Penrose Collection. The panel discussion is chaired by the exhibition's co-curator Alyce Mahon.


Alyce Mahon

Alyce Mahon is a Reader in Modern & Contemporary Art History at the University of Cambridge. The author of Surrealism and the Politics of Eros, 1938-1968 (2005) and Eroticism & Art (2005), her curatorial work and catalogue publications include Dorothea Tanning (Reina Sofia, Madrid, Oct. 3 2018-Jan. 6, 2019 & Tate Modern, Feb. 27–June 6, 2019), Leonor Fini: Theatre of Desire 1930-1990 (Museum of Sex, New York, Sept. 28, 2018-March 4, 2019).​

Ami Bouhassane

Ami Bouhassane is Co-Director of Farleys House & Gallery Ltd, the organisation that manages the Lee Miller Archives, the Penrose collection and Farleys House, home of her grandparents Lee Miller and Roland Penrose. Trustee of the Lee Miller Archives, curator and lecturer on both Miller and Penrose Bouhassane has worked extensively with their material for over 20 years.

Catriona McAra

Dr Catriona McAra is University Curator at Leeds Arts University. She has published extensively on Dorothea Tanning including A Surrealist Stratigraphy of Chasm (Routledge, 2017), a catalogue essay for Wendi Norris (2013), and numerous articles and book chapters including ‘Emma’s Navel’ in Patricia Allmer’s Intersections (MUP, 2016) and ‘Tanning and the Sedona Western’ in Journal of Surrealism and the Americas (2019).

Rachel Goodyear

Rachel Goodyear (b. 1978, Lancashire, UK) Solo exhibitions include The New Art Gallery Walsall; The Drawing Center, New York; and The Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Group exhibitions include; The Freud Museum, London; Museum für Moderne Kunst, Weserburg; Folkwang Museum, Essen; The Curitiba Biennial, Brazil; and Liverpool Biennial, Tate Liverpool. Collections include Victoria & Albert Museum, London; Olbricht Collection, Essen; Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool; The New Art Gallery Walsall; Whitworth Art Gallery, Manchester; and Robert Devereux Collection. She is represented by Pippy Houldsworth Gallery, London.

Tate Modern

Starr Cinema

London SE1 9TG
Plan your visit

Date & Time

16 March 2019 at 14.00–16.00