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In their desire to expose the hidden meanings in everyday objects, the surrealists blurred the distinction between fine and applied art. Today's curators are doing much the same

By Ben Lewis   May 2007

One day soon, if you haven’t done so already, you will stop talking about “the arts” and just talk about “art.” The distinctions that have been made for two centuries between the fine arts (painting, sculpture, drawing, photography) and the applied arts (design, ceramics, furniture) will appear not only anachronistic but asinine. This change will come about largely because of the growing number of free-thinking curators organising exhibitions that combine the fine and applied arts—and take the latter as seriously as the former. But it will also be a recognition of the fact that artists have long been challenging the…

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