Surrealism intended to subvert the old rules of making, understanding, and canonizing art, so it’s pointless to complain that it didn’t leave behind many great works. Of course it didn’t. Its legacy consists primarily of ideas and artifacts, some of them provocative enough to encourage latter-day anti-artists to continue the -ism’s quest for the odd and the inexplicable. Surrealism Reviewed, a collection of audio remnants from the movement’s closet, includes a tango that Luis Bunuel may have played to accompany early screenings of Un Chien Andalou; excerpts from interviews and audio manifestoes by Andre Breton, Tristan Tzara, and Salvador Dali; and a snippet from an Antonin Artaud rant recorded for (but ultimately not broadcast by) Radio France in 1947, just before Artaud died. The last is one of six selections that are in French (they’re translated in the typo-strewn CD booklet) and probably the only one worth a listen by non-Francophones: Artaud may have lost his mind, but not his theater-trained declamatory skills. Subversive remarks in English by Max Ernst, Man Ray, and Marcel Duchamp don’t sound all that brash in these jaded days, but Duchamp does get off a good line: “Bad art is still art, in the same way that a bad emotion is still an emotion.” Fittingly, the most striking tracks combine the everyday and the strange, not necessarily on purpose: Upscale British trickster Herbert Read discusses an assortment of “disquieting or perverse” surrealist constructions with deadpan solemnity, and ’40s American radio host Ona Munson conducts an obviously scripted interview with “lady war correspondent” (and Man Ray protegee) Lee Miller and her husband-to-be, British avant-garde-art booster Roland Penrose. “I’ll try real hard to sound like a fabulous character,” says Miller, and the rest of this curious 12-minute chat more than validates surrealism’s enthusiasm for the improbable found object. —Mark Jenkins

More from WCP