Dali Miami: Underwhelming
Photo by Justin Namon
View photos of the opening of Dali Miami here.
In 1921, the historic Moore Building was built in Miami. At the time, Salvador Dali was sixteen and rebellious, growing up in the Spanish countryside. He had daddy issues.
His mother had just passed away from cancer and his father had the cojones to re-marry his deceased wife's sister, whom Dali actually respected. Like most rebels, Dali left home. His path took him to the Academia de San Fernando in Madrid, where he studied until being expelled in 1926 for declaring the faculty too incompetent to properly assess him. In 1926, the Moore Building was one of a few structures in Miami to weather the worst hurricane we ever experienced.
Eighty-six years later, Dali and the building housing a collection of his work are doing just fine, however, the same can't be said about the exhibit combining the two.
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Dali Miami is an over-hyped and overpriced, glimpse into the artistic genius of one of the twentieth century's most prolific and enduring artists. This is not to say Dali Miami is completely horrible, it's just aesthetically underwhelming.
Still, with over 200 pieces in the collection, there's plenty to take in along the three floors of the exhibit. The show is well-curated. The diversity of work is indeed arranged in a manner that creates a textured narrative. It's just that Salvador Dali, the man who twirled his skinny mustache so hard it twisted the world for generations, and the city of Miami, deserves a little better than this collection heavy on sketches, lithographs, and prints.
Photo by Justin Namon
Except for a strong arrangement of the artist's sculptures in bronze, Dali Miami feels underdeveloped and overly sketchy. Perhaps there is a Florida bias. Having visited the Dali museum in St. Petersburg, having knelt on the ground in front of the humongous Hallucinogenic Toreador until tears roll down the face, this simply pales in comparison to the museum a few hours to the north.
In addition, the opening night reception of Dali Miami was far from surreal. Unless you define surreal as complimentary vodka cocktails, a sports car, and a red carpet fashion show replete with psychedelically painted day-glo models backed by Madonna, Adele, and LMFAO.
Salvador Dali, if alive, would not have attended his own party.
Let's blame it on the shitty DJ. If 2012 Miami isn't surreal, what is?
"Don't bother about being modern. Unfortunately it is the one thing that, whatever you do, you cannot avoid." - Salvador Dalí
If Dali were in his prime today, he'd probably paint a mural in Wynwood. It'd be the biggest and baddest mural in the hood. It'd be the centerpiece of the Wynwood Walls, overshadowing anyone else who tried to measure up to his ambitions. Dali was famous for self-promotion, and for his ego, but he could back it up with his work, which constantly pushed limits.
Dali Miami is more ego than substance; the producers of the exhibit should've probably threw this party on the beach because the show lacked the groundbreaking vision that the Moore Building, Midtown Miami (or at least Wynwood) is currently accustomed to.
Bottom line: Dali Miami is not a come-down-from-Broward-must-see-stand-alone event, but it's worth a stroll through, perhaps as a launch pad for this Saturday's art walk.
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