Dali Miami: Underwhelming

Categories: Art, Last Night
dali_miami1.jpg
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.

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.

dali_miami2.jpg
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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Moore Building

4040 NE 2nd Ave., Miami, FL

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Reed V. Horth
Reed V. Horth

Dear JJ,

First... Let me thank you for your article and critique of Dali Miami 2012.

As curator of the exhibition, I can understand some of your feelings about the comparisons between the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg and others around the globe. Believe me, I have been to them all. However, given Dali's relatively miniscule original oil holdings in private collections outside of St. Pete, Figueras and a few other locations, the bar you set for oils is nearly unattainable. This is why we decided the focus should be squarely on other avenues in which Dali expressed himself, most notably his sculptural output, his drawings and watercolors, his glasswork and his collaborative film "Un Chien Andalou". To this end, I believe we fulfilled our mission. Beyond this, as the first iteration of DALI MIAMI, we heard time and time again from potential donors and sponsors, "Let me see what the first exhibit looks like". To a person, I believe that they were impressed with the level, quality and vastness of the collection we were able to assemble at Michael Rosen's direction. While I cannot speak to the party aspects of the opening night, I believe that a second glance, perhaps with me as a personal guide, can give you perspective on the length and breadth of the collection. Therefore, I ask that you return to meet with me personally during the exhibition's stay through Sunday. Perhaps, through dialogue and a bit more sedate atmosphere, we can build a bridge and understanding about what we were able to achieve in the first of hopefully many exhibitions of Dali here in Miami.

With most sincere regards,Reed V. HorthCurator, Dali Miami 2012ROBIN RILE FINE ARTwww.robinrile.com

Curlydr
Curlydr

I went to the Dali event today at the Moore bldg and it was fabulous! The exhibit pieces were amazing and I stayed so long reading and looking at each piece. I had so much fun that I may go again Sunday! Thank you to the staff that brought this to Miami!I feel sorry for anyone that didn't enjoy it but obviously they are not knowledgable about Dali's art or a good event ! Btw, so nice people can share their personal art with us!

Curlydr
Curlydr

Went to the VIP event last night which was a celebrity filled blast! Also went back today to take a closer look at the art which was an amazing collection of Dali and such a nice mix of pieces. This is certainly an event not to be missed!

Benji
Benji

I'm really surprised at how embittered this article reads and am assuming the author isn't an art critic but maybe someone who didn't have a date to the prom?  I had VIP tickets for the first night, which was a flashy Miami party, then I went back today to soak in more of the art. Comparing this collection to the St Petersberg collection is a ridiculous stretch. The art in St Petersberg are some of the best Dali's in the world, hands down, but it was also from one family collected over 50 years and it doesn't represent an important part of Dalis work: sculpture. Putting on an exhibition of this size from private collections would never yield what's in a museum, and it shouldn't be expected. You're not going to the Louvre. I've gone so far as the Museo Dali in Figueras, Spain which is an amazing collection, very Daliesque and over the top, but the crowds made it almost intolerable to appreciate the art. That is supposed to be the creme de la creme of Dali museums and I walked out a bit disappointed. As far as Dali Miami is concerned, I was able to really soak in a lot more the second day. I found the exhibit well worth the visit; there was a huge variety of works there and it was quite an education for Dali fans as well as people who don't know much about the artist. And the DJ was great.

J.J. Colagrande
J.J. Colagrande

the deejay really sucked . . .

 . . . but what do i know . . .

DALINYC
DALINYC

Clearly you dont know much since the DJ completely rocked...maybe you should get out a little more to see what your readers want to listen to and how they want to engage art.  Your a bit disconnected.

Lowginjay
Lowginjay

I had a feeling it would be a snooze fest. I've never been to the one in Tampa, but the Dali Museum in Northern Spain has set the bar high for me. Dali actually designed the entire building and the whole thing is interactive. Sculptures you walk into, coin operated machines, things that only make sense from the top of a ladder or through a magnifying glass. The Dali museum in Spain is the ONLY way to see Dali!!!

Dali Fan
Dali Fan

I was completely blown away by the pieces I saw last night. I thought it was overly sexualized, which fits in perfect in Miami. Too bad everyone was there to drink, or maybe they would have enjoyed it more! And I have been to the museum, which is PHENOMENAL, but on a smaller scale, this was incredible as well.

Jesse
Jesse

I flew down for the show from NY.  Hugeeeee Dali Fan.    Went to the museum in St Pete and there was an entire room (half the museum was prints)....Over all was very impressed by Dali Miami.  The sculpture and glass were amazing.  I hope this exhibit comes to NYC

Emigdio Rivera Guilbe
Emigdio Rivera Guilbe

Everyone is entitled to comment in US. It's freedom of speech (even for those drop-outs who have lots of money). Daring to showcase what has not been done, merits enough.Truth is.....Art is Art.

Alexis D. Guillen
Alexis D. Guillen

Did we attend the same event?  Most of the art came from private collectors that otherwise, I would have never have had the opportunity to see.  That alone was worth going.   The work at the Moore bldg was authentic Dali and elements of the smaller pieces on display were incorporated in his larger works.

CC
CC

I totally agree - compared to the wall-to-wall oil paintings in St. Petersburg, these underwhelming selections of his sketches were a dud. Our expectations were sky high and we were let down with the final product. I feel sorry for those who paid for their tickets, I would have wanted a refund. But then again with the pretentious crowd that was there last night, I'm sure the art was not the most important thing to them, rather it was how they looked. Good article J.J.

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