Wed. Jan 19th, 2022

The just-unveiled Dali exhibit is a must see for casual and avid art lovers alike. Where else can you see mind-bending Escherlike puzzles, a group of showgirls arranged as a skull, a portrait of bread, and a hologram of AliceCooper? The opening of this exhibition was mobbed with the electricity that must have characterized Dali ʼs original premieres. In the preshowing lecture, curator Michael Taylor praised Daliʼs individuality, larger than life personae, and genius for manipulating his public image via the media.

This is the first comprehensive retrospective exhibition since Daliʼs death, and the first seen in the United States in over 60 years. Philadelphia is the only venue for this exhibition, which embraces every aspect of his creative life as painter, writer, object-maker, designer of ballets and exhibitions, filmmaker, theorist and publicist.

It includes more than 200 works, 150 of them paintings. This is the largest number of Daliʼs pictures ever to be assembled together, accompanied by sculpture, works on paper, photographs of the artist and a documentary section. These works are drawn from public and private collections in 14 countries. The showing lasts from Feb. 16 to May 15, 2005.

The exhibition is organized chronologically, beginning with the Catalan-born artistʼs earliest efforts from his art school days in Madrid. He quickly absorbed the techniques of Goya and other Spanish masters before assimilating more recent developments such as Impressionism and Cubism. Influenced by Freudian psychoanalysis, the artist invested myths and legends with disturbing psychological meanings, often related to his own estranged relationship with his father.

Paintings such as “William Tell,” (1930), and “The Spectre of Sex Appeal,” (1934), show how Dali transformed existing myths to create his own unique visual language. The retrospective also examines Daliʼs lesser known post-World War II period, which is marked by technical virtuosity and an interest in optical illusions, science, and religion. Daliʼs work has had a strong impact on emerging artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.

Donʼt forget to bring your student ID – it drops ticket prices down to $12 until April 1. Consider going on a Friday for Art After Five, with music, dance, food and drinks in the Great Stair Hall. Die-hard Dali enthusiasts can take advantage of several symposiums, wine tastings, lectures, and art history courses. Check www.philamuseum. org for more details.

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