🎨 More Salvador Dali Museum

Salvador Dali Museum
This season, we got to do something I have been wanting to do, but could never convince Kevin it would be fun for him too. Mother Nature even helped out on this one with providing a raining, gloomy day for us. Ha! So indoors we went . . . we explored the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida. Not only did we get to explore, we got the entire place to ourselves! Now, I know that's not the case for everyone (and it won't be for us next time either) but wow! What an experience. We had to be there by 6 a.m. in order to meet with security, get our filming done and out of there before they opened to the public. They were very accommodating, and both the museum and us wanted to make sure we didn't impede visitors' experiences either.

It was incredibly cool, the building alone is a piece of art. Everything Dali did caused your brain to work. It was a total mental workout! Here's what Producerman had to say, "This was my first time in an art museum. Call me crazy but I'm not the artsy fartsy type. I have lived in the Tampa Bay area for 18 years now and never made the trek across the bridge to see the melting clock painter guy. Boy was I wrong. We got to meet the guy that knows the most about the Dali Collection, Curator Peter Tush. He told us so much about the museum that we couldn't fit it all into one episode, so we made another extra segment from all the footage." Click this link or the YouTube clip below to watch. Check out the full episode of RV There Yet? - Alternate Plans featuring our trip to The Dali Museum. 

We got to spend an interesting 10 minutes talking with the Dali Museum curator, Peter Tush. Here's what we talked about:

When you come into our collection and you start exploring the museum, we have 96 oil paintings that show the sheer gamut of Dali's career. It begins in the period of impressionism goes all the way through his Madrid days as a student into surrealism through nuclear mysticism and into some of his very last pieces. So the beauty of the collection is this immersion into the mind of Dali. You're really able to experience the sights, the sounds, and the ideas that he had in a very direct and immersive way.

We have a painting that we acquired once we moved here to St Petersburg. It's called Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean which when seen from 20 meters becomes a portrait of Abraham Lincoln. Dali was reading Scientific American magazine from 1973. It was about how much visual information does the mind need to recognize a face, and so they had some very interesting versions of familiar images like Abraham Lincoln, the Mona Lisa, and essentially from a distance just like pixels, these became recognizable but when you got up close they're very abstract. Dali had the genius idea and he was 72 years old at this time, that he could create an entirely different composition which would when seem from a distance would transform from the image of his wife at the window to an image of Abraham Lincoln.

Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean
When people were visiting and he wanted to show it to them he was in a small room you couldn't get 20 meters away from it, so he had a pair of binoculars, and he would have people look through the wrong end of the lens to create that illusion to allow them to see it as if they were at a distance. Dali was a master of illusion and this was something he was fascinated by. He was aware of some of the other people who had developed illusions but he had a very unique perspective and take on them, and I think he just really liked to lead people to question what they assumed to be the case you know. Maybe the world looks quite different than the way we're perceiving it. If we just took another moment. Took a step or a beat perhaps it would be completely different than we assumed it to be. 

I have a painting called the Hallucinogenic Torador. It was painted in 1967 and 68 so a period of time Dali had a lot of fans who were very open to seeing things differently. It was inspired by the most simple of ideas. Essentially Dali bought some pencils in an art store started looking at a Venus de Milo that was on the cover and suddenly he saw a face, and for the next 16 months, he kept redeveloping it and redeveloping until finally it's this mammoth sort of conglomeration of all these stories and all these ideas that Dali has about double imagery, about spanish bullfighting, and about beauty and western art.  From the very center of it where you have all of these venuses, there's 31 venuses in the painting. You suddenly start to realize there's this transformation into a face, and once you make that connection, you start seeing all the other parts of the story. The hidden bull, the other image of the bullfighter. There's a variety of different things to have your eyes dance back and forth across.

Hallucinogenic Torador
We've developed something called Dali's Masterworks in Augmented Reality. and it's on our app. Essentially it allows you to see eight of our paintings, the large canvases in our collection, and they actually come to life. And for 30 seconds to a minute you see key aspects of the painting suddenly become animated and start to float or start to hover or become illuminated and then at the end of that there's four or five different details that are brought out to share more information about. It's an incredible way to re-imagine the way that Dali imagined these paintings you know wanting to tell these stories 

It's a comprehensive collection. The most comprehensive in the world that goes from almost the beginning of his career through 1976 very close to when he passed. And in that collection there are great examples of all of his key periods but there's one painting we have that's called The Weaning of Furniture-Nutrition that I think is really very special. Dali had become a surrealist. He had become a master of conundrums and finding dream imagery to share but the special gift that he had is the ability to paint something that looked like a photograph of something that's completely impossible to imagine. This painting is one of the most successful because it's subtle. It's not so much Freudian as it plays with the idea about what is it to wean. He has the woman who was his nanny as a child who has a hole in her body and there's a chest of drawers right next to her on a beach and if you look at it? It looks like it's a hand tinted photograph and yet what you're looking at is completely impossible, and it's that idea the dedication to his craft but also showing us something extraordinary that nobody else would have imagined I think is what makes that painting just so special in the collection.

The Weaning of Furniture-Nutrition
One of the great pleasures of being here at the museum is that I've had a long history of being aware of a lot of 20th century movements - a lot of other artists you really get to see Dali from a very different perspective you get to discover his ideas, his goals, his aspirations, and see him very differently than i think we perceived him in the past.