Salvador Dali and Media
Curated by: Aliona Doletskaya
Revista Gran Via de Actualidades, Artes y Letras, 20/08/1960. Image Rights of Salvador Dalí reserved. Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, Figueres, 2014.
Go, 11/1946. Image Rights of Salvador Dalí reserved. Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, Figueres, 2014.
Revista de Actualidades, Artes y Letras, 8-14/09/1955. Image Rights of Salvador Dalí reserved. Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, Figueres, 2014.
Photo Monde, 02/1954. Image Rights of Salvador Dalí reserved. Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, Figueres, 2014.
Der Spiegel. Cover, 07/10/1959. ©Salvador Dalí, Fundació Gala-Salvador Dalí, RAO 2014
Date: October 30, 2014 – February 1, 2015
Venue: MMOMA, 10 Gogolevsky boulevard
The Moscow Museum of Modern Art together with the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation presents Salvador Dalí and Media exhibition. For the first time in Russia, artworks by one of the most well-known provokers in the 20th-century art will be shown in the light of media. The exhibition partner is the Spanish jewelry design house Carrera y Carrera, which will present a special project in one of the halls at 10 Gogolevsky boulevard. The project is an imaginary result of the collaboration between Dalí and Carrera y Carrera glossy publications.
Salvador Dalí’s artworks are traditionally divided into periods, directly related to the geopolitical situation in the world. However, the exhibition in the MMOMA will not be arranged chronologically. Viewers can choose the way they go through the exhibition themselves. The show is divided into two parts, inextricably connected with each other. The first one will demonstrate Dalí at work. Covers and articles for Vogue, GQ, TV Guide, Newsweek, Town&Country, This Week magazines and many other editions will introduce the audience to Dalí the illustrator and the art director, the writer and the editor. The MMOMA halls will tell about each new role of the artist. The second part is a world of images which are an integral part of the era of the Fourth Estate, where the artist worked. Giant eggs, female legs in Bryans Hosiery, lips and, of course, Dalí’s famous mustaches recreate the unique space of Dalí’s mad world. But surrealism will be interrupted by a hall of ratio, without which it is impossible to imagine the work of the genius with media. Numbers have accompanied from the very beginning of his creative work be it circulation of a publication he has contributed to, a number of covers or the author's emoluments he received from one of the largest publishing houses.
Dalí’s oeuvre in mass media was inextricably connected with the imagery one finds in his art. His work as an illustrator was neither casual nor a temporary passion. It was one of the foundations of his total oeuvre. The artist’s creative development, the beginning of his career coincided with the post-crisis period, the first five-years plan and the New Deal of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The political situation in the world defined the time of smart magazines (L’Amic de les arts, Gaseta de les Arts, the Minotaur), where Dalí was an active theorist. Towards the late 1930s, the consumer society brought about glossy magazines and large-circulation newspapers. In search of scoops both of them turned to the artist, while he actively used his image, easily transforming into a pressman, an illustrator, an editor or even a publisher. Dalí would reuse the same eccentric themes many times. It became especially evident in 1934 in the American Weekly, published by William Hearst. Collaboration between Dalí and media was unique because of his wonderful ability to communicate with readers using clear symbols that made any Dalí campaign successful, be it advertising of Isotta or Chen Yu lipstick. In 1939, when the theory of the Surrealist object had conquered the world, Salvador Dalí signed a contract with Conde Nast. In the same year flower bouquets in the place of female heads appeared in the set of the artist's most used images. The celebrated series of Bryans silk stockings ads was published a year later. Dozens of female legs pointed to the sky or to the earth, replacing the wings of Pegasus, making symmetrical arches, ambiguously sticking out from behind arm-chairs. In the first years of the Second World War, Dalí filled the double page in the Click magazine No 42 with surrealist images of dreams and fashion.
In just ten years Dalí the artist became a living legend. The first years of the post-war decade saw the implementation of the idea of general mobilization was the loss of former market rules and the appearance of a free trade zone. It was the period when Dalí became especially interested in media as a domain most open to experiments. The first issue of the Dalí News magazine confirmed the idea. Monarch of the Dalíes was an imitation of the popular Daily News, issued in tabloid format with four pages, eight columns and huge headlines. It was published in 1945 for Dalí exhibition in New York.
Close and long-term collaboration between Dalí and mass media was only partially covered by the 2004 “Dalí. Mass culture” exhibition, at Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid. It was a part of the celebrations marking the centenary of Salvador Dalí’s birth. This year, the world is marking the 110th anniversary of the birth of the great Spanish artist.