Posted by: admin
In the last decade there have occurred a number of events which have celebrated the legacy of the great Spanish surrealist Salvador Dalí. In 2005 the Dali Exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art commemorated Dalí’s centennial birthday, through 2008 – 2009 we saw a Dalí & Film exhibit cross the U.S. from New York to Los Angeles, and recently in 2010 – 2011 the great Dalí exhibit at the High Museum in Atlanta, Georgia. All of these exhibitions broke attendance records. We also the long awaited release of Destino, a collaboration between Dalí and Disney. Recently we have witnessed the grand remolding of the Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida. Dalí fans have also be subjegated to news surrounding a possible Dalí biopic, with some of Hollywood’s best talents attached to play Dalí, such as, Al Pacino, Jonny Depp, and Antonio Banderas. This in addition to the 2008 film Little Ashes starring in the Robert Pattinson portraying as Dali. Also recently is the Woody Allen Film, Midnight In Paris which features a remarkable job by Adrien Brody as he wonderfully portrayed the mad genius of Dali.
Combined all this “Dalí” excitement has helped firmly entrench Dalí into the popular culture of the 21st century. This is evidence of Dalí’s work persisting and become relevant to new generations, becoming timeless. What does this mean though? What does it mean for something to be “timeless”, more importantly, for Dalí to be timeless? It means that his works can be repeatedly reinterpreted each generation into something meaningful to those generations. It means that in the 1960s Dalí was a symbol of the counterculture while in the 1930s he was branded as “Surrealists”. At different times he meant different things, to different generations. But why Dalí? What does it say about his works that they endure years and centuries only to appear fresh and innovative to each new pair of eyes that sets on them.
Perhaps we can answer this by asking; What does Dalí mean to us today?
To answer this we have to look at how people talk about him. In light of the recent events celebrating his works we can draw some assumptions. One being, he is regarded as historically important, worthy of enormous exhibits. This leads us to believe that our generation believes he is firmly established as a major link in the history of art. What link does he represent? In the march of art’s history Dalí stands out amongst those who came before him and those after. He is not only an artist to us, but a symbol. Imagine when you first saw Dalí. One thinks of power imagination, the familiar images in unfamiliar settings, and the genius that must be behind the images. He symbolizes a creativity we’ve seen, an extreme in thinking, our own dreams. For the first time in the history of art someone has gone into our personal psychology and painted a picture of it. He has always represented this, but today, more than before, he also represents the historical importance of this phase in the history of the world. We view him now in juxtaposition to all the other artists we renown.
Those who are creating the films, exhibits, and news stories are middle aged, which means they’ve had at least a quarter of a century to marinade in the influence drawn from Dalí. They understand that the generational understanding of Dalí is constantly evolving, or, revolting. This latest Dalí revolution is about the timelessness of his timelessness.
It has been two decades since Dalí past. The morning and grieving process is gone, now we are reflecting, our generation is looking at Dalí as a whole.