Image of Abigail Susik

Contact Information

Ford Hall, Room 308
900 State Street
Salem  Oregon  97301
727-417-0628 (Mobile)


  • B.A., Barnard College, Columbia University, summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa
  • M.A., Ph.D., Columbia University, with distinction

Research and Teaching

Professor Susik is a specialist in dada and surrealism studies, and her secondary research areas include new media aesthetics and contemporary art. Her work focuses on the intersection of surrealism with anti-authoritarian protest cultures and issues in mass media, technology, and visual/material culture.

At Willamette, Dr. Susik offers courses on 18th- through 21st-century Art History, the History of Photography, methodologies of Art History, and special topics in modern and contemporary art. Selected books by Professor Susik include Surrealist Sabotage and the War on Work (Manchester University Press, 2021), Radical Dreams: Surrealism, Counterculture, Resistance (Penn State University Press, 2021), and Surrealism and Film After 1945: Absolutely Modern Mysteries (Manchester University Press, 2021).

She is co-curator of the 2021-2022 exhibition “Alan Glass: Surrealism’s Secret” at Leeds Arts University, and she also curated a major survey of Imogen Cunningham’s photographs at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art in 2016. Susik is a founding board member of the International Study for the Society of Surrealism and co-organizer of its 2018, 2019 and 2022 conferences.  Between 2015 and 2019, she was an Associate Editor of the College Art Association publication, Media-N, Journal of the New Media Caucus and a member of the New Media Caucus Board of Directors. Professor Susik was the 2009-2011 Postdoctoral Fellow at Millsaps College, and her research has been supported by The Graves Awards in the Humanities, The Mellon Foundation, The Council of Independent Colleges, and other institutions.

Her book Surrealist Sabotage and the War on Work uncovers the history of surrealism’s radical anti-work position through an analysis of American and European surrealism between the 1920s and the 1970s. Works across media by Man Ray, André Breton, Óscar Domínguez, Joseph Cornell, Simone Breton, Salvador Dalí, Meret Oppenheim, Konrad Klapheck, Giovanna, and others, are examined in relation to the intransigent surrealist concept of permanent strike. Combining a social art history approach with labor history and theory, and a focus on surrealist subversions of the hierarchy of binary gender, this interdisciplinary study establishes the transatlantic continuity of the surrealist work refusal over the course of the twentieth century.

Professor Susik is currently working on a new curatorial project and exhibition catalogue entitled Touch of the Marvelous: Surrealism and the West Coast, about surrealism and surrealist influence in North America after 1945. In-progress book projects include her edited volume Surrealism and Animation: Beyond Still Life (including an introductory overview of the history and theory of animation in surrealism, and also a chapter on Roland Topor), as well as her second book, a series of case studies devoted to surrealism's anti-capitalism and anti-racism, Change Life: Surrealism, Abolition, Prefiguration.

Selected Awards

Lawrence D. Cress Award for Faculty Scholarship, Willamette University, 2020

The Graves Award in the Humanities, "South American Surrealism: Expanding Modernism's Canon Through Teaching and Research in Art History," for six weeks of funded travel in Peru, Chile, and Argentina, Pomona College, 2020

Council of Independent Colleges seminar fellow, The Art of Storytelling in French Painting and Sculpture 1600–1850,” Portland Art Museum in Portland, Oregon, July, 2015

Faculty Achievement Awards in Teaching and Research, Willamette University, 2015

Curated Exhibitions

  • Alan Glass: Surrealism's Secret, Leeds Arts University, Blenheim Walk Gallery, December 2021-January 2022

"For Myself": Nudes by Imogen Cunningham, 1906-1939, Hallie Ford Museum of Art, February 13 – May 1, 2016



Change Life: Surrealism, Abolition, Prefiguration (in progress).

Surrealist Sabotage and the War on Work (Manchester University Press, 2021).




Radical Dreams: Surrealism, Counterculture, Resistance, coedited with Dr. Elliott H. King (Penn State University Press, 2021).

Alan Glass: Surrealism’s Secret, coedited with Dr. Kristoffer Noheden (Leeds Arts University, 2021).

Surrealism and Film After 1945: Absolutely Modern Mysteries, coedited with Dr. Kristoffer Noheden (Manchester University Press, 2021).



Picturesque Snot: Polemics of the Landscape, a Collection of Correspondences between Jordan Tate and Abigail Susik, with Jordan Tate (Special Collections Press, 2019).


Selected Recent and Forthcoming Essays

“Aragon’s Modern Mythology and Surrealist Détournement,” under review.

 “Gender Performativity in Surrealism,” forthcoming in The Routledge Companion to Surrealism, ed. Kirsten Strom (Routledge, 2022).

“The Alchemy of Surrealist Presence in Alejandro Jodorowsky's The Holy Mountain,” forthcoming in Surrealism and Film after 1945: Absolutely Modern Mysteries, eds. Kristoffer Noheden and Abigail Susik (Manchester University Press, 2021).

“Autobiography and Automatism in Aragon’s Anicet (1920) and Leiris’s Aurora (1927-28),” forthcoming in History of the Surrealist Novel, ed. Anna Watz (Cambridge University Press, 2021).

“D.E. May and the Gift of Unknowable Intimacy,” forthcoming in Oregon Visual Arts Ecology Project (Fall 2021).

 “Points of Convergence: Chicago 1960s,” forthcoming in Surrealism Beyond Borders (The Tate Modern; Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2021).

The Rebel Worker,” forthcoming in Encyclopedia of the American Left, 3rd ed., edited by Mari Jo Buhle, Paul Buhle and Dan Georgakas (London: Verso, 2021).

“Subcultural Receptions of Surrealism in the 1960s International Underground Press: Resurgence and Other Publications,” forthcoming in Cambridge Critical Concepts: Surrealism, ed. Natalya Lusty (Cambridge University Press, 2021).

“Sorprendente hallazgo: Alan Glass and Contemporary Surrealism in Mexico,” co-authored with Dr. Kristoffer Noheden, forthcoming in Burlington Contemporary (2021).

Chicago Surrealism, Herbert Marcuse, and the Affirmation of the ‘Present and Future Viability of Surrealism,’” Journal of Surrealism and the Americas 11:1 (2020): 42–62.

“Art History Hacked: Art Hack Practice as Intra-garde,” Art Hack Practice: Sites for Artistic Co-Production, eds. Victoria Bradbury and Suzy O’Hara (Routledge, 2019), 15–22.

“Panique,” “Beauty,” and “Poetics,” The International Encyclopedia of Surrealism, eds. Michael Richardson, Dawn Ades, Krzysztof Fijalkowski, Steven Harris, Georges Sebbag (Bloomsbury Press, 2019), 171–74, 282–85, 521–24.

“Dada’s Birthday Bibliography,” Modernism/modernity 24, no. 3 (September 2017):629–37.

 “Animistic Time in Hans Richter’s Vormittagsspuk (1927–1928),” in Time and Temporalitin Literary Modernism (1900–1950) (Peeters, 2016), 243–58.

“Chance and Automatism: Genealogies of the Dissociative in Dada and Surrealism,” Blackwell Companion to Dada and Surrealism, ed. David Hopkins (Wiley-Blackwell, 2016), 242–57.

“Curating for a 'New' Portland: Portland Biennial 2016,” The Exhibitionist (Summer 2016).

“Getting Over Ourselves: Nonhuman Studies,” Modernism/, 2016.

“Pleasure, Texture and Digression: Douglas Crimp on Before Pictures,” interview by Abigail Susik and Dr. Kris Cohen (Reed College), in “Aids and Memory,” Drain Magazine 13 (2016).

"Snobbism, Juvenilia and 'The Children's Corner:' Carrington's Contributions to S.NOB in1962," Leonora Carrington and the International Avant-Garde, eds. Jonathan P. Eburne and Catriona McAra (Manchester University Press, 2016).

"Ocean Semiosis," feature catalogue essay in Plastika Alaska, au. Andy Hughes with contributions by Mark Dion, Pam Longobardi, Nicholas Mallos, Howard Ferren, Carl Safina (Plastic Editions, 2015), 6-11.

"Surrealism and Jules Verne: Depth of Subtext in a Collage by Max Ernst," Surrealism, Science Fiction and Comics, ed. Gavin Parkinson (Liverpool University Press, 2015), 16-39.

“Sky Projectors, Portapaks and Projection Bombing: The Rise of a Portable Projection Medium,” special double issue on video history in Journal of Film and Video 64, nos. 1–2 (Spring/Summer 2012): 79–92.

“Convergence Zone: The Aesthetics and Politics of the Ocean in Contemporary Art and Photography,” feature essay in “Supernature,” Drain Magazine 15 (Spring 2012): n.p.

“The Screen Politics of Architectural Projection,” in “Civic Spectacle,” Public: Art, Culture, Ideas 45 (Spring 2012): 106–19.             

“‘The Man of these Infinite Possibilities’: Max Ernst’s Cinematic Collages,” Contemporaneity: Historical Presence in Visual Culture 1 (Summer 2011): 62–87.

“Remarks on the Commodity Status and Critical Applications of the Surrealist Outmoded," in Regarding the Popular: Modernism, the Avant-garde, and High and Low Culture. European Avant-garde and Modernism Studies; v. 2 (De Gruyter, 2012), 323–39.

“Aragon’s Le Paysan de Paris and the Buried History of Buttes-Chaumont Park,” Thresholds35 (Winter 2009): 62–71.

“Cy Twombly: Writing after Writing,” Rebus: A Journal of Theory and Art History, no. 3 (Winter 2009): 1–28. 

“Considerations on the Everyday as an Aesthetic Category,” Inferno: Postgraduate Journal of Art History & Museum Studies 13 (Summer 2009): 8085.

“Paris, 1924: Aragon, Le Corbusier, and the Question of the Outmoded,” Wreck: Graduate Journal of Art History, Visual Art & Theory 3, no. 1 (Spring 2009): 29–44.


Willamette University

Art History

Ford Hall
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.
503-370-6977 fax

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