Thursday, January 23, 2014

Visit History: Salvador Dali Museum

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the death of Spanish surrealist painter Salvador Dali and coincidentally I visited the Dali Museum in downtown St. Pete, Florida a few days ago. The popularity of Dali's whack paintings is worldwide and this Museum has the largest collection of works other than the Dali Theatre and Museum in his hometown of Figueres, Spain.

It was opening weekend for the Museum's new exhibition, Warhol: Art. Fame. Mortality., so there was a small wait to get into the museum in which the Docents passed out pipe cleaner Dali mustaches. Once inside, Warhol's obnoxious selfies and his quotes that I'm sure he thought were incredibly profound were on display-overdrive throughout the shop and exhibit.

I think everybody should like everybody.
The world fascinates me.
I wonder if it's possible to have a love affair that lasts forever.
But I always say, one's company, two's a crowd, and three's a party.
Everybody must have a fantasy.
In the future everybody will be famous for 15 minutes.
I want to be a machine. I think everybody should be a machine.
I'm afraid that if you look at a thing long enough, it loses all of its meaning.
I think having land and not ruining it is the most beautiful art that anybody could ever want to own.

After a lap of race-walking around the Warhol exhibition, it was time to see some Dali and purge my mind of Warhol's weird fuckin face.

Compared to the rest of the Museum, the galleries were dreary. The flow of the rooms was a little bizarre which caused some backtracking. Some of the "masterworks" were so large that you had to move around the room to see different sections of the painting because the light reflected off of areas in a weird way.

Apart from the art, the Museum had little quirks that are worth mentioning. The spiral staircase. The weird wavy glass structure protruding from the building that reminds me of Flubber. The cafe gives you gooddamn rock candy(!) on a stick as a sugar substitute for coffee. The outdoor melting clock bench. The "Wish Tree." An article from the Tampa Bay Times explains the Wish Tree and shares  past visitor's wishes. My favorite being, "I wish I was cool like Dali and had my own anteater. Or could afford to go to Cambridge." The little things are what make a museum memorable. More than the art most times.

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