29 May 2006

A Visit to Tampa leads to The Salvador Dali Musuem

[As I, nativechicagoan, travel to Tampa, Florida, there is one destination I must see.] Nestled along a bank of water in St. Petersburg, Florida is the Salvador Dali Musuem. Not as whimsical as the Dali E'pace in Paris, France, The Salvador Dali Musuem does have some things going for it. Namely, it holds at least four "masterworks" of the great artist, principally "Hallucinogenic Toreador" which is a sight to behold in person. It differs from the other "masterworks" (so named for the period of time it takes to complete and the size of the canvas) the musuem offers in that there are not overtly religious references (which Dali seemed to make with tongue-in-cheek anyhow), and it seems to simply be a masterful painting full of play. This is what Dali did best, take an idea, make it absurd, obscure, ridiculous, and then make it beautiful and jaw-dropping.

The other thing about The Salvador Dali Musuem is they offer free tours with a knowledgeable docent. This tour provided more insight into Dali's life and inspirations that illuminated many of the pieces, subjects and styles. Having been a fan of Dali's work for some time, and even having visited the Salvador Dali Musuem a few years ago, I actually learned quite a lot that I didn't know.

I knew that Dali played around with concepts that Frued dallied about, but I don't think I realized how much of his work it permeated. I also didn't know there was a dalmation depicted in the "Hallucinogenic Toreador" toward the bottom middle of the piece. I was very pleased to learn that Dali's wife posed for many of his works and could be considered his muse. I found this very interesting, since Dali was such an eccentric, it seems more likely that he would work well alone.

Since the musuem is located in hurricane central, we were informed that at every warning or mere mention of a hurricane, all the pieces must be crated and stored in a safe house. Last year alone, this process happened more than four times. I can hardly imagine how difficult that might be.

Small pieces from the Salvador Dali Musuem often travel to other cities, so if you ever happen to hear that a Dali piece is on the way, make it a point to visit whatever musuem is offering the view. However, to see the masterworks, at least the larger ones, a trip to southern Florida is a must.