I will never forget asking Benjamin Buchloh, the leading modern art scholar at Harvard, why there was no class discussing Dalí. He turned and looked at me and said, “well…that is interesting…no one has seriously wanted that in a while, why do you want such a course?”
I am sure that my face turned the color of the red wine in front of me. I looked at my peers, with whom I had discussed the desire for such a course, while visiting the Reina Sofia, but no one chimed in support. Clearly, his initial disapproval struck everyone silent. I do not remember exactly what my response was, but it had something to do with my fascination with Dalí’s progression as an artist, finally choosing surrealism and the power of dreams. We had a long discussion that night about the merits and shortcomings of Dalí. My initial embarrassment for such a question subsided quickly, although such a course was never offered during my career, perhaps I had one condensed that night in four hours.
It is true, I have always been fascinated by Dalí. Daniela and her mother had two extra tickets to the Dalí exhibit at the Reina Sofia and so on Friday Andrew and I paid a visit to the master of dreams.
His art in many ways still captivates me. That being said, the organization of this exhibit was so chaotic that it made it hard to follow the progression of his style. For instance, I believe that we started in salon 3 and then went back to 1 and 2 based on the layout of the rooms, making it difficult to know which room related to which period. I am not even positive that we visited all of the display rooms by the end of our visit. With such an encyclopedic exhibition it is of utmost importance that the viewer knows exactly what is going on so that they can organize the overload of information in their minds.
Despite this setback it was amazing to see so many different sides of Dalí in one place. I have always placed him in my mind as primarily a painter and after this visit, I realized that mistake. I particularly liked watching his different films, which gave the viewer a chance to interact with Dalí or to see how he adopted film to suit his desires to capture the reality of dreams. I believe that I could visit 100 times and find 100 different treasures.
I am not sure if I still desire a course solely devoted to Dalí, as my passions have changed overtime, but that is not to say that one is not merited.
For more information on the exhibition: