Down the rabbit-hole with Salvador Dali’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’
04.01.2014
09:35 am

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Art
Books

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Salvador Dali
Lewis Carroll

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It seems like a perfect match, the master of Surrealist painting, Salvador Dali illustrating a classic of nonsense literature, Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. In 1969, Dali produced thirteen illustrations for a special edition of Carroll’s book published by Maecenas Press-Random House, New York. Dali made twelve heliogravures of original gouaches for each of the book’s twelve chapters, and one engraving for the frontispiece. Dali’s work is startling and beautiful, but at times seems slightly unrelated to the original source material. Even so, they are quite delightful.
 
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Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, `and what is the use of a book,’ thought Alice `without pictures or conversation?’

 
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The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well.

 
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`Curiouser and curiouser!’ cried Alice (she was so much surprised, that for the moment she quite forgot how to speak good English); `now I’m opening out like the largest telescope that ever was! Good-bye, feet!’ (for when she looked down at her feet, they seemed to be almost out of sight, they were getting so far off).

 
More of Dali’s illustrations for ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ after the jump…

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Art & Commerce: Andy Warhol and Salvador Dalí‘s commercials for Braniff Airways, 1967
01.02.2014
06:53 am

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Advertising

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Andy Warhol
Salvador Dali
George Lois

Andy Warhol and Sonny Liston
 
In 1967 legendary adman and designer George Lois conceived a hip new ad campaign for Braniff International Airways, in a style that was remarkably similar to his undying Esquire covers from around the same time. (If you’re at all interested in design, you’ve definitely seen a bunch of those covers, just Google it.)

In two TV spots, Andy Warhol tries to convince a not-buying-it Sonny Liston, then the world heavyweight champ, as to the artistic validity of his Campbell’s soup cans, and Yankee hurler Whitey Ford quizzes Salvador Dalí about the differences between the screwball and the knuckleball.

Lois, in his egotistical and yet charmingly frank (“out-bullshit” etc.) style, explains on his website what he was getting at with the Braniff ads. He mentions a bunch of other pairings that were presumably filmed, but, well, they ain’t on YouTube, anyway.
 

WHEN YOU GOT IT—FLAUNT IT!

A JUXTAPOSITION OF CELEBRITY ODD COUPLES, PORTRAYED AS LOVABLE SPOTLIGHT HUSTLERS, TRYING TO OUT-BULLSHIT EACH OTHER AS THEY FLY BRANIFF.

In 1967, When you got it—flaunt it! became an American colloquialism as well as a standard entry in the anthologies of American sayings, almost instantly. It was my slogan for Braniff—a zany, outrageous campaign that featured a smorgasbord of the world’s oddest couples, exchanging the screwiest and most sophisticated chatter heard on television. Our juxtaposition of unlikely couples was unprecedented, creating the perception that when you flew Braniff International, you never knew who might be in the seat next to you. Pop guru Andy Warhol tried (but failed) to engage the sullen heavyweight champ Sonny Liston…Salvador Dali (Wen yo godet—flawndet!) talked baseball with Whitey Ford…black baseball legend Satchel Paige talked about youth and fame with neophyte Dean Martin Jr….poet Marianne Moore discussed writing with crime novelist Mickey Spillane…Rex Reed dueled with Mickey Rooney…British comedienne Hermione Gingold trumped film legend George Raft at his own game, whilst inundating him with pretentious palaver.

Sounds wacky on the face of it, but as we eavesdrop on these odd couples trying to outflaunt each other, we hear everything that has to be said about Braniff. We also imply that you might bump into a celebrity or two on a Braniff flight. (Yet another spot was produced with a Braniff stewardess welcoming an eclectic procession of business travelers: Joe Namath, Emilio Pucci, the Italian fashion designer to the Jet Set, thespians Gina Lollobrigida, Tab Hunter and Sandra Locke, jockey Diane Crump and the Rock group Vanilla Fudge.) They are not idealized celebrities—they are famous people who are portrayed as lovable extroverts, combined to radiate a surreal kind of believability. A commercial has little credibility if we think its spokespersons are hustling a buck. Celebrities must not look like mercenaries. I make them believable by showing them in a human way, downplaying their celebrity.

 

 

 

Written by Martin Schneider | Discussion
Salvador Dali’s Christmas cards
12.24.2013
09:35 am

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Art

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Salvador Dali
Christmas cards

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Salvador Dali designed a series of nineteen Christmas cards between 1958 and 1976. These greeting cards were specially produced for the Barcelona-based company Hoechst Ibérica, and presented Dali’s take on traditional Christmas celebrations.

While popular in Spain, Dali’s greeting cards were not as successful in America, particularly with card manufacturer Hallmark, who thought his “surrealist take on Christmas proved a bit too avant garde for the average greeting card buyer.”
Rebecca M. Bender, Assistant Professor of Spanish Language and Literature has written a fascinating blog with more pictures of Dali’s festive work, which you can view here.

Happy Holidays!
 
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Christmas 1974
 
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Christmas 1960
 
More Dalinian holiday greetings, after the jump…

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Soft Self-Portrait of Salvador Dali
12.08.2013
12:05 pm

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Art

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Salvador Dali

image
 
Max Bialystock’s advice from The Producers, “When you’ve got it flaunt it!” was never more apt for an artist than Salvador Dali. Like Mel Brooks’ fictional character, Dali was a showman, a performer who loved money, fame and success. Unlike Bialystock, Dali was good with his finances. As his publisher Peter Owen once told me, Dali wandered around playing the mad man until the issue of contracts and money was raised, then Dali dropped the pretense and became lucid for the duration of any negotiations. As Owen noted, “Dali was a notary’s son.”

Dali’s need to show-off often eclipsed his genius as an artist. His appearances in public often attracted more attention than his art, it was something he willingly indulged, once addressing an anarchist rally with a loaf of bread tied to his head; at the opening of the 1936 London Surrealists Exhibition, he wore a deep sea diving suit; and he was put on trial by his fellow Surrealists after he issued a public apology for attending a party dressed as the murdered baby Charles Lindbergh Jr., his wife, Gala dressed as the killer. It wasn’t the dressing up that offended the Surrealists, but Dali’s apology - “sorry” seemed to be the hardest word for Breton and co.

The Surrealists dismissed Dali as a grubby money grabber, but it is more likely they were jealous of his talent and envious that Dali had a sponsor, Edward James, a British millionaire, son of an American railroad magnate. James sponsored Dalí for a number of years and was repaid with his inclusion in Dali’s painting “Swans Reflecting Elephants”.

Dali’s need to show-off came from a greater need than just a love of money. Throughout his childhood, he fought against the memory of another Salvador - his older brother who had died in infancy. As Dali later wrote in his autobiography:

All my eccentricities I habitually perpetrate, are the tragic constant of my life. I want to prove I am not the dead brother but the living brother. By killing my brother I immortalize myself.”

Originally made for French television Soft Self-Portrait of Salvador Dali (1970) is a brilliant and beautiful film that captures the artist in fine fettle as he delights in performing for the camera. Here’s Dali indulging in his trademark mix of showman, clown and serious artist: hammering out a tuneless miaow on a cat piano (Dali associated pianos with sex after his father left an illustrated book on the effects of venereal diseases atop the family piano as a warning to the dangers of sexual intercourse); or sowing feathers in the air, as two children follow pushing the head of a plaster rhinoceros; or, his attempt to paint the sky.

Directed by Jean-Christopher Averty, with narration provided by Orson Welles.
 


Dali Salvador A Soft Self Portrait by le-pere-de-colombe

 

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Salvador Dali tries his hand at ‘Dynamic Painting’ on ‘I’ve Got A Secret’ 1963
09.08.2013
02:48 pm

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Art
Television

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Salvador Dali
Jackson Pollock

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Francis Bacon described Jackson Pollock as the “lacemaker,” as he thought Pollock’s Action Paintings looked like the intricacies of fine lacework. The description was flippant, but in it was also the recognition of Pollock’s talent in creating such fluid and spontaneous artwork.

In 1963, Salvador Dali tried his hand at Action Painting, or as he termed it “Dynamic Painting,” on the panel show I’ve Got A Secret. Unlike Pollock, who used oil, enamel and aluminum paint, Dali opted for shaving foam (yes, shaving foam) to create his mini-masterpiece. As one would imagine, the resultant (comic) mess bears little resemblance to the quality of the lacemaker’s work—though I doubt that was ever the intention.
 

 
A longer version with Dali judging the panelists’ paintings, after the jump…

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
Serge Gainsbourg as Salvador Dali
08.08.2013
07:51 am

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Music

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Salvador Dali
Serge Gainsbourg


“Ee’s SURREAL!”

Both above photo and the below video are via the Melody Nelson 33 1/3 Twitter feed. Darran Anderson’s Serge Gainsbourg’s Histoire de Melody Nelson, an upcoming entrant in the famed 33 1/3 book series will be published later this year, is available for pre-order now. If you are a Gainsbourg fan, you might want to follow this feed, as I expect they’ll be posting a real bounty of Serge-related multimedia.

Below, an insanely cool short sequence edited from the French movie La Pacha (1968). Gainsbourg is seen here singing “Requiem pour un con” (“Requiem for a Twat”)

Listen to the organs
They play for you
That tune is terrible
I hope you like
It’s quite beautiful, isn’t it?
It’s the requiem for a twat

I composed it specially for you
In your sordid memory
It’s a pretty theme
You don’t find
The ressemblance to yourself?
Poor twat

I’ve never seen this clip before. It made me tres happy.
 

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Dirty Dali: The Great Masturbator
06.06.2013
03:29 pm

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Art

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Salvador Dali


 
Although British art critic Brian Sewell’s Dirty Dali: A Private View isn’t quite as salacious as the title makes it sound (and doesn’t include a fraction of the dirt that was in Ian Gibson’s fascinating 1997 biography, (The Shameful Life of Salvador Dalí) it’s still pretty darned interesting.

In fact, though less “warts and all” than Gibson’s book, Sewell’s 2007 documentary about the painter does have something Gibson’s account did not, and that is a personal sexual… experience (“encounter” would be the wrong word) with the voyeuristic Great Masturbator himself!

Sewell describes in the film how as a young man he came to stay in Port Lligat for four summers between 1968 and 1971 and was introduced into the Dali’s social circle at a time that the genius was thought to have seen his best days—and best work—now long behind him.

After a dinner, Dali convinced Sewell to recline on a sculpture of Christ and masturbate while he took photos and beat his own (apparently very tiny) meat. This sort of thing went on, obviously, with Gala’s disinterested blessing as she was into her very own swinging scene and was allegedly a complete nymphomaniac into a ripe old age. 

Although ultimately quite sympathetic to Dali, Sewell’s film depicts how unconstrained Dali was by conventional morality and yet how his own deep psychological (not to mention Catholic) shame at what he got up to, fed into his work in a perverse sort of guilty, self-loathing Freudian feedback loop.

But clearly, it worked for him…
 

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Salvador Dali vs. acid indigestion: Zany Alka Seltzer commercial from 1974
03.19.2013
11:55 am

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Advertising
Art
Television

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Salvador Dali
Alka Seltzer


 
“Plop, plop, fizz, fizz”

Salvador Dali takes an artistic approach to neutralizing stomach acid in this Alka Seltzer commercial from 1974.

Dali made himself available to do commercials for the price of $10,000 a minute. A bargain.
 

Written by Marc Campbell | Discussion
Salvador Dali’s transsexual muse Amanda Lear in her first TV commercial, 1967
02.25.2013
11:17 am

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Art
Fashion
Pop Culture
Queer

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Salvador Dali
Amanda Lear


Lear photographed by David Bailey for the December 1971 Dali-edited issue of French Vogue.

The glamorous Amanda Lear in her first TV commercial appearance, circa 1967, for Révillon’s Detchema fragrance.

The music is by cult figure French soundtrack composer, François de Roubaix.
 

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Salvador Dali’s bizarre design ideas for women’s swimwear, 1965
09.13.2012
10:46 am

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Design
Fashion

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Salvador Dali


 
Besides the wacky signature Dalinian designs, the takeaway I was left with?

Dali was no fan of cleavage.
 

 
Via Nerdcore

Written by Tara McGinley | Discussion
Salvador Dali and Walt Disney’s ‘Destino’
08.24.2012
09:48 am

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Animation
Art
History
Movies

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Salvador Dali
Walt Disney


 
Someone was kind enough to post an HD file of “Desinto,” the animated short that Surrealist painter Salvador Dali and Walt Disney collaborated on for over eight months in 1945 and 1946 (along with Disney artist John Hench who did the storyboards). The film was eventually shelved due to WWII-era financial problems at Disney’s company. Dalí described the film as “a magical display of the problem of life in the labyrinth of time” and Disney said it was “a simple story about a young girl in search of true love.”

“Destino” came out of its cryogenic deep freeze in 1999 when it was revived by Roy Disney, then working on Fantasia 2000. The short film was constructed from the existing story art and production notes, a 17-second animation test, talking to John Hench and a few clues gleaned from Gala Dali’s personal writings. “Destino” was directed by French animator Dominique Monfréy (his first directorial credit) at the Paris offices of Disney Studios France and a team of over 20 others.

The “plot” of “Destino” involves a tragic love story: Chronos (time) falls in love with a mortal woman and they cannot be together. They dance across surrealist landscapes. Dalinian things happen.

The 17 seconds of extant footage from the ill-fated project is the bit with the Dalian parade floats on turtles moving towards each other as the baseball player looks on. Also, it’s worth mentioning, that there would have been a mix of animation and live action dancers in Dali and Disney’s original vision for “Destino.” The appropriately yearning soundtrack is a song by the Mexican composer Armando Dominguez, sung by Dora Luz.

I’ve seen “Destino” twice in museums (the huge Dali career retrospective exhibit in Philadelphia back in 2005 and the LACMA show focusing on Dali’s work in Hollywood). I loved it, but I have problems with it. It’s a remarkable work of art, don’t get me wrong, I think “Destino” is pretty great, but it’s not really a Dali/Disney collaboration like it was hyped-up to be, but something more accurately described as the work of that was inspired by (however faithfully) Dali and Disney’s vision. I was expecting something “archival” or “vintage” I suppose, so therein lay my disappointment, as a huge Dali buff, nothing to do with the actual work, which is marvelous, as anyone can see.

“Destino” is available as a special feature on the Fantasia / Fantasia 2000 special edition Blu-ray. There’s a gallery of some of the production art and correspondence between Walt Disney and Salvador Dali at the great Disney fanblog 2719 Hyperion.
 

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Dissecting Dali (and Picasso)
04.30.2012
04:11 pm

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Art

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Salvador Dali
Pablo Picasso
MASP Art School


 
New campaign for MASP Art School with the tagline “MASP Art School. Open enrollment.” features recognizable dead artists pinned-down like dissected frogs. Their inner-workings reflect the artists’ signature styles and brush strokes.

DDB, Brazil is the advertising agency responsible for this, er (effective?) campaign.
 

 
Via My Modern Met

Written by Tara McGinley | Discussion
Salvador Dali TV chocolate ad
01.17.2012
01:25 pm

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Advertising
Art
Pop Culture

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Salvador Dali


 
“Je suis fou du chocolat Lanvin!”—so claims Salvador Dali in this TV ad starring the surrealist master who was dubbed “Avida Dollars” by Andre Breton for his seemingly insatiable lust for money.
 

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
Salvador Dali: Surrealist Party from 1941
12.31.2011
03:00 pm

Topics:
Amusing
Art

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Salvador Dali
Surrealism
Forties
Party

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Salvador Dali hosts a Surrealist party as a fund raiser for displaced European artists, at the Bali Room, Hotel Del Monte, California, in 1941. However you celebrate the arrival of the New Year, have a fabulous time, and a wonderful 2012.
 

 
With thanks to Duggie Fields
 

Written by Paul Gallagher | Discussion
The Return of Leonor Fini
10.24.2011
08:52 am

Topics:
Art

Tags:
Salvador Dali
Andre Breton
Leonor Fini

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Leonor Fini is one of the few women to be closely associated with the Surrealist Group, although Fini herself did not see her self as a Surrealist at all and rejected membership. Still she remained a fellow traveler of the Surrealists throughout her career, although in many ways her work—a sensuous celebration of female sexuality—tweaks the misogynistic and homophobic tendencies of movement, especially its founder Andre Breton (who was all for lesbianism). Her work has been represented in nearly every major Surrealist exhibition.

Much is made of the artist’s good looks and upfront sexuality. Fini was famously photographed naked—and clean shaven—floating in a pool by Henri Cartier-Bresson. (This photograph sold for over $300,000 in 2007). Fiercely bohemian, she also lived in not one, but two menage-a-trois relationships. When she died her obituaries were as much about famous men she’d slept with as her own career, but Fini kowtowed to no man, she lived life completely on her own terms, a feminist long before the term existed.

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Hurry, Hurry, Hurry, My Dolls Are Waiting (1975)

It has been said of Fini, that she was a “female Dali” and in many ways this is true. The narcissistic artist was an imposing presence in any room with her beauty and flamboyant fashions. And like the Divine Dali, her art came from a place deep inside her, as she was forced to develop a inner vision during extended teenage bouts with an ocular ailment that saw her eyes bandaged shut for months at a time. When the bandages came off, she wished to document what she had been inwardly visualizing and declared herself an artist.

The self-taught Fini began to exhibit her art at the age of seventeen and she knew anyone worth knowing in Paris and internationally. She also designed clothing and ballet and opera sets. Her design for the bottle of Elsa Schiaparelli’s Shocking perfume is considered iconic. She is one of the most photographed people of the 20th century and famously attended dozens of costume balls in elaborate costumes. She was always in magazines. During her lifetime she was quite a big name, although by the time of her death in 1996, she’d become a bit obscure. The French government even refused to take paintings in lieu of back taxes owed by her estate, although she was called “...the most undervalued artist of the 20th Century” by the Art Dealers Association of America.

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Schiaparelli’s Shocking

A reappraisal of her work seems due and this appears to be happening with the publication of a monograph/biography of Fini titled Sphinx: The Life and Art of Leonor Fini, written by her friend, art critic Peter Webb. It is an absolutely superb and beautiful volume—it’s sitting beside me as I type this—truly it’s one of the finest crafted objects I’ve seen in some time. If you’re looking for a nice coffee table book that will knock someone’s socks off for a gift, this is it.

Written by Richard Metzger | Discussion
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