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dali 17: a review of the dali museum of monterey, california

Dali museum

Dali 17” is the new museum of the work of Salvador Dali in Monterey, California. Technically, it’s a “permanent exhibition” in the renovated Maritime Museum, but for all purposes, it is the new Dali museum of the West Coast. I visited it a while back and I’d like to tell you about it.

Dali 17 is the home of the Dali collection of local business man Dmitry Piterman. Recently, Piterman became a huge art fan and amassed a rather impressive collection of Dali’s works. Eventually, he decided to house them in the Maritime Museum building. In this review, I’ll with a few words about the basic experience and the make recommendations for three types of people, casual art fans, hard core art fans, and Dali fanatics.

What you will find: Monterey, California  is a tourist town and the museum building is in the Fisherman’s wharf area. So if you are already on vacation, it’s easy to stop by. The Dali 17 occupies 2 floors and houses mainly editions (prints, lithographs, and some other things). The flow is easy. Just walk through floor one, then up to floor two and you’ll be done. I think the ticket is a teeny bit pricey ($20 for adults), but if you slow down and take your time, you’ll get your money’s worth. I don’t think it’s for kids, since a lot of the material is historical.

Casual fans: I think this is a nice introduction to surrealism, from one of the leading practitioners. There is a lot of material from the 1930s to the 1970s. It doesn’t cover the earliest stuff, nor the very last stuff, but it is a good representation of his work. Though there aren’t paintings, viewers can see high quality prints of some of his most important works, like The Persistence of Memory. I also think this is good for casual fans since you get a lot of prints and lithographs from his more overtly religious work from the 1950s and on, which many people can identify with.

Regular art fans: Sadly, this museum doesn’t offer much for people who already know about Dali and are not fanatics. There are literally no paintings and almost no original drawings. Nor are there any of his more interesting sculptures, jewelry or video work (yes! Dali did some interesting early video). Since it is a Dali only museum, there is almost nothing else to compliment or contextualize the collection. Thus, a collection of editions on paper can appear monotonous. I think it is worth seeing, but I wouldn’t blame an art fan if they passed on this one.

Dali fanatics: I am a Dali fanatic and I think this is a great collection for the Dali obsessed. The basic issue is that Dali produced an enormous amount of work. He was a workaholic, his wife consistently pushed his work, and he never turned down a gig. So Dali’s hand can be found in areas ranging from jewelry, Disney films (yes!) and clothing design. Thus, a collection of paper editions can yield interesting insights. For example, I did not know he produced a series of works celebrating the 20th anniversary of the State of Israel. Another example: there is an utterly amazing etching from about 1934 of the “kneeling man with drawers.” Dali fans know that his is his best period in terms of pure drawing technique and, though be it small, the etching does not disappoint. A real gem. I also want to throw in a good word for the lobby. It has a photo display documenting a dinner Dali hosted for West Coast celebrities, which included serving Bob Hope a plate of live frogs. Fun stuff. Overall, a “must see” for those who dream of burning giraffes.

So check it out. I enjoyed it. I hope you will too.

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Written by fabiorojas

June 6, 2017 at 12:01 am

Posted in art, fabio, uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. I’ve been to the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida. Totally awesome! Gotta check this one out too. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    quietblogster

    June 6, 2017 at 4:47 am

  2. Thanks for the note. I you liked the St. Petersburg museum, you should like this one too. It’s more intimate in that is has two main halls, and no big atrium, and it’s mainly paper editions.

    Liked by 1 person

    fabiorojas

    June 6, 2017 at 5:27 pm


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