SALVADOR DALI: THE LATE WORK, currated by Elliott King at the High Museum Of Art in Atlanta was just as splendid a show as I had hoped. When you read a high-quality show catalog, the curator’s essay will reveal just how much he or she “gets” the artist’s work and will also frequently demonstrate how much he or she likes it. In the case of an Elliott King, you have a curator with a life-long dedication to the study of the artist so an exhibition he organizes can be expected to offer special insights. This one absolutely did and the crowds responded big time.
The High Museum’s idea was to mount a final celebration titled “Dali ’till Dawn” that would keep the exhibition open for its final 31 hours. King was scheduled to lead three tours – 1am, 3am and 5am! The next afternoon, after we both flew to St. Petersburg ahead of Atlanta’s snow storm, he called to ask if I could join him and some other Dali people for drinks and possibly dinner. What stamina! What youth!
Elliott and I linked up in Atlanta (as planned) and went to meet a very engaging and stimulating coupe for drinks. We then swung past the museum at about 8:00 to see what was happening. The line for admission was about three blocks long. We went back to the hotel and agreed to visit the exhibition at 10:00 PM. Again, when we arrived we were stunned to see the line had not diminished and the museum was packed. The atmosphere was electric and the excitement easily negated the fact that the temperature was 38 degrees and a strong, cold wind was blowing. Apparently hundreds of people thought the discomfort was worth braving. They were eventually well rewarded.
I also got the reward I had long anticipated as Elliott gave me a personal tour of the show and we discussed the works, their history and techniques and a great deal more about our mutual passion–Salvador Dali. It is always so exciting to be with an intellectual and well informed companion, especially at such an exhibition. The show was really splendid in spite of the fact that 18 artworks had been reurned to The Salvador Dali Museum to be hung for the grand opening of their new building on the 11th. I, of course, had examined every one of them under magnification when I appraised the museum’s collection three times throughout the years.
When I left the High Museum at 1:30 in the morning with two companions with whom I discussed Dali until 2:30 back at my hotel, the line to get into the exhibition was still two blocks long! The temperature had dropped even lower, but these folks would not be denied. The show was crowded all night. What a recognition of the fascination people have with Salvador Dali and what a recognition of the show that Elliott King had curated–in just one year. Wow.
I arrived in St. POetersburg in time for the members’ reception at the new museum. The Grand opening is tomorrow. Stay tuned for a report of all of the fun and foolishness and my opinions of the new buiding.