- Mandela not on life support in final hours, friend says
- Ukraine protesters topple, decapitate Lenin statue in Kiev
- Kim Jong-un’s uncle removed from North Korean state documentary
- Thailand crisis deepens as opposition quits Parliament
- Campbell Soup apologizes for SpaghettiOs’ Pearl Harbor tweet
- Former Reagan aide James Baker: President regretted apartheid veto
- Some donations to gay waitress who allegedly forged hate note refunded
- German President Joachim Gauck boycotting Sochi Olympics
- Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel: If you want to pay more for your doctor, you can under Obamacare
- Sen. Rand Paul: ‘I am seriously thinking about’ running for president in 2016
“Good” and “bad” Salvador Dali finally meet
PARIS (AP) - Was Salvador Dali _ who proclaimed himself a genius and “divine” _ one of the world’s greatest artists or one of the world’s biggest showoffs?
For years art critics wrestling with this problem were forced to carve up his 70-year career into the “good” Surrealist years and the embarrassing “bad” decades _ when the mustachioed eccentric was accused of megalomania, catering to dictators and selling out through his numerous TV stints. In France in the late 1960s, Dali was more known as the face of a chocolate ad than as a painter.
But a landmark exhibit at Paris’ Pompidou Center _ featuring more than 120 paintings including the melted clocks of his famed 1931 work “The Persistence of Memory” alongside film work and TV appearances _ aims to rewrite the art history books. It shows how his mass-media period, shunned by critics, was in fact extremely influential and must be reconciled with his early work to fully understand the scope of his genius.
“The surrealists said that we shouldn’t like his `bad’ years… But we can no longer ignore their influence on art in the 50s, 60s and 70s,” said curator Jean-Michel Bouhours.
“We are not babies,” said contemporary artist Orlan, who viewed some of Dali’s later work for the first time at a preview of the exhibit. “We must see Dali warts-and-all for ourselves, and make up our own minds independently. Yes he was a show-off, but so are many artists. Why have we censored him?”
Organizers of the exhibit use reels of Dali’s theatrical TV appearances to show the influence of his obsession with mass media, which began when he moved to the U.S. at the outbreak of World War II.
One famed appearance, for Lanvin chocolate in 1968, shows an exuberant Dali biting into a large chocolate bar, and proclaiming “I am mad” before his moustache curls up.
“Dali evolved with TV and cinema, and was the first to embrace mass media,” said Bouhours, calling the artist “the initiator of the pop-art (movement).”
Works featured in the exhibit invoke the celebrity-obsessed themes of pop art. One piece from 1934, the sprawling exhibit’s best, features a huge construction of Hollywood siren Mae West’s face, with bright yellow hair, and bright red lips transformed into a couch. Its similarity to Andy Warhol’s printed image of Marilyn Monroe, made some 30 years later, is striking.
One of the reasons, the exhibit organizers suggest, is political.
“Dali always had an obsession with dictators. But in Spain it got dangerous,” said co-curator Thierry Dufrene. “In 1975, when the old Franco was already very frail, he ordered the execution of Basque activists. Dali responded on the radio, saying `It’s very good _ we should kill even more of them.’ This is part of the reason his reputation was tarnished in his later years.”
The exhibit is the first to seek to show how Dali _ who died in 1989 aged 84 _ was a genius because of, not despite, his contradictions.
Why has this not been possible before?
“A lot has changed. It’s 2012 and Dali is dead. In the last retrospective in 1979, he was still alive, it was too soon,” said Pompidou Center Director Alfred Pacquement. “We are for the first time in the realm of history. The first time we can clearly see beginning to end.”
Dali once said: “At the age of six I wanted to be a cook. At seven, I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since.”
The true scope of his bombastic ambition _ both famed artist and annoying showoff _ can be seen until March 25.
Thomas Adamson can be followed at http:/ /Twitter.com/ThomasAdamsonAP
- Obama: Hole U.S. 'digging out of' requires billions more in unemployment benefits
- Spike in battlefield deaths linked to restrictive rules of engagement
- Bill OReilly reminds: Nelson Mandela was a communist
- PRUDEN: British press horrified as London's new mayor dares to proclaim the truth
- Sen. Richard Durbin: No line in the sand on unemployment benefits
- Dick Cheney: Family feud over gay marriage has been 'dealt with'
- Sen. Rand Paul: Supreme Court needs to re-examine Fourth Amendment
- Sen. Rand Paul: 'I am seriously thinking about' running for president in 2016
- 'Hunger Games' delivers Obama's message on income inequality
- Rep. Mike McCaul: 'Al Qaeda's on the run' is 'false narrative'
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Entertainment News and Reviews from Washington, D.C. and beyond.
Get in the middle of all the action inside and outside the boxing ring.
Opinion, analysis, and musings on politics, pop culture, reinvention, and the resultant flotsam and jetsam floating around the right-of-center quadrant of the Left Coast.
Let it snow
White House pets gone wild!