Tracker Pixel for Entry

Salvador Dali’s stairway to heaven

by Sabrina Hornung | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Arts | December 18th, 2019

Cover art courtesy of the Plains Art Museum

“Surrealism permeates--there’s a legacy there with contemporary art where they’re still trying to capture or convey something that can’t quite be fully understood without the existence of that thing that you can’t fully describe with words so I would say Surrealism still permeates our current artmaking climate today.” Says Plains Art Museum Executive Director Andy Maus, “That legacy belongs to Dali and company. It permeates street art, and pop art in some ways, not pop art in the 20th century but contemporary pop art. I’d say that sense of mystery and that feeling you get with a great surrealist piece is still something that is trying to be captured by some artists anyway.”

Surrealism is a 20th-century avant-garde art movement that was not only a love letter to the unconscious but was inspired by philosophy and dream landscapes. It served as a multidisciplinary art movement that included film, theatre, literature, and visual art.

Spanish born Salvador Dali was a master of the movement and maybe one of the most recognized artists of the 20th century. His iconic mustache has permeated pop culture perhaps as much as the wilted timepieces in his instantly recognizable painting “The persistence of memory.” He was an incredibly prolific artist dabbling in the arts of film, animation, and was even known to illustrate up to 100 books in his lifetime ranging from the Bible to “Alice in Wonderland.”

As of December 19, the Plains Art Museum will be presenting “Salvador Dali’s stairway to heaven,” the largest Salvador Dali exhibition North Dakota has ever seen with 143 of his rarely seen works on paper (watercolors and prints), curated by world-renowned curator David Rubin and made possible courtesy of the Park West Foundation. The exhibition runs through May 20, 2020.

The exhibition illustrates two very different points of Dali’s career. “Comte de

Lautréamont’s Les Chants de Maldoror” (“The Songs of Maldoror,” originally published in

1868-69) illustrated by Dali in the 1930s and Dante Alighieri’s “The Divine Comedy” (originally published 1320) illustrated by Dali in the 1960s. Both works had similar surrealist themes but the earlier works were more chaotic with more concise attention to detail and mark making whereas the later works were more fluid and included watercolor works.

It’s interesting to note that Dali’s works on paper were not as well-received as his paintings… but why? “Printmaking has never achieved the same recognition that paintings have, here we have a printmaking studio. We LOVE prints and works on paper. It’s one of our strengths so we really don’t see the hierarchy in the same way. Historically, throughout the 20th century, there was this irrational hierarchy of art forms and works on paper were seen as less.”Maus went on to say, “I think that’s why you see this in museums. That’s really starting to change now, it’s a great time to start looking at Dali’s illustrations. To me, it adds a really interesting element because then you have the story--the literary works and then his interpretation as it relates to those literary works. So it’s not as pure necessarily as his paintings but there’s another layer to it if you know the text.”

How did an exhibition of this magnitude come to North Dakota? Tasha Kubesh, Associate Curator of Collections and Exhibitions explained, “There are curatorial resources online with traveling exhibitions and I noticed it listed, so I mentioned it to Andy and the opportunity just jumped out to me, luckily we were able to obtain the last slot in their schedule so if we wouldn’t have called in that day we might not have been able to receive it.”

Maus added, “It helps to have the accreditation that we have to be able to host exhibitions like this so they can trust that it’s going to a place with high operating standards too so I’d say a recently acquired reaccreditation probably helped to secure the spot.”

The work of Dali has a special place in the hearts of both Maus and Kubesh, “Andy and I both have that in common that Salvador Dali was the first person that really made us interested in art.” Kubesh said.

“Part of the reason I was attracted to him was that I had never seen artwork that was so full of ideas, but the ideas didn’t make any sense. Because they’re irrational like dreams are irrational, most dreams are irrational, right? So for me, some of the other surrealists like Salvador Dali, that was the first time where I had seen work that was like that--it was like philosophy where it was like a circular conversation.” Maus said.

Kubesh added, “For me, it’s as simple as art is about creativity, and I think that Dali really pushed the boundaries of the creativity that we see and I’m not sure if anybody has surpassed him.”

On January 16, the Plains will be hosting a Winter Paella party complete with surreal desserts and refreshments. Paella is the national Spanish dish and is made with rice and seafood. On January 23 film enthusiasts will appreciate a night of surrealist film during a “Film and Surrealism” seminar followed by a session of “Philosophy for all” with Richard Gilmore. On April 16 the Plains will host an “Exquisite Corpse” party, and no it’s not as disturbing as it sounds. It’s a take on a surrealist drawing exercise in which multiple artists work together to draw a figure. Artists will also try their hand at “automatic drawing” and collage.

Andy and Tasha were even willing to let the cat out of the bag as far as the Plains Art Gala’s theme for 2020, he assured us that there were going to be “surreal elements to the gala--it’s going to be a weird gala for sure.”

RECENTLY IN

Arts

Tracker Pixel for Entry HarborHealthClinic Tracker Pixel for Entry HPR Sales Tracker Pixel for Entry TAK Tracker Pixel for Entry HPRONLINE

Recently in:

COVID-19, or Coronavirus, has started to make its rounds in the United States. As of Tuesday, Mar. 17, three residents in North Dakota, 11 in South Dakota, and over 60 in Minnesota have been confirmed to have the disease. The…

by Sonja ThompsonDebra Ruh is the CEO and Founder of Ruh Global IMPACT, a consulting firm that strives to help clients amplify their impact and become disability inclusion leaders. She also serves as the Chair of the United…

Best Bets

Ladies Ag Night

by HPR Staff

Thursday, March 19, 4:30- 8 pm1609 19th Ave N, FargoCass County Soil Conservation District is hosting their annual Ladies’ Ag Night supper event. This event has a goal of bringing together multiple generations of women involved…

Not long ago, we did not have Coronavirus or Covid-19 in our vocabulary. Now our worlds have been changed. And that change is not stopping anytime soon, it would appear.Most of us are in the same boat. Our businesses are in…

The 14th Century Black Plague Started Something Beyond Thoughts And PrayersI see Donald the Lyin’ King has decided that Easter will not be a good time to fill churches--but maybe April 30 will be. King Donald had talked so much…

To say that this year’s Bartenders Battle was the best display of talent in the six years since its creation would be an understatement and a disservice to not only the bartenders who made it into the competition, but also the…

It goes without saying that Valentine’s Day is the most profitable of all the holidays and the one with the most tortured history, literally. It is confusing how an ancient Roman festival that involved sacrificing animals and…

Fargo obviously loves their classical music. Audiences have still turned out during the 2019-2020 season of the Sanford Masterworks Series performed by the Fargo-Moorhead Symphony Orchestra despite an unrelenting winter. That…

Eliza Hittman’s Sundance favorite “Never Rarely Sometimes Always,” which played in theaters for just three days before Focus Features pulled the film amidst the widespread and unprecedented coronavirus-related closures, will…

This weekend, the 10th Annual Unglued Craft Fest will be held at the Plains Art Museum, featuring over 70 local and regional artists selling handmade items. Though most are Fargo-Moorhead residents, artists from Minneapolis, Sioux…

Theatre

Fargo Film Festival 2020

by HPR Contributor

by Dominic EricksonThis March, the Fargo Film Festival will celebrate its 20th year of entertaining die-hard cinephiles and casual moviegoers alike. The festival begins on March 17 and concludes March 21. The event is once again…

by Kris Gruberperriex1@gmail.comAdam Quesnell's last show at The Cellar beneath the Front Street Taproom in Fargo was in early September of 2018. He was embarking on a seminal move from Minneapolis to LA. As always, his comedy was…

by Jill Finkelsonjsfinkelson99@gmail.comFar North Spirits, located up in Hallock, MN, is the northernmost distillery in the lower 48. They may be young in the distillery world but the farm and the spirit reach far into the past.…

Wellness

Discover Yoga Differently

by HPR Contributor

by Laurie J Bakeremsdatter@gmail.com Part of modern yoga is participating in the world around us. We live in a time of upheaval in society and nature, and of great suffering in humans of all ages. Most of us perceive this suffering…

by Devin Joubertdevinlillianjoubert@gmail.comIt’s that beautiful time of the year that’s filled with seasonal decorations, sparkly lights, warm family gatherings, and delicious feasts. I love everything about this time of the…

#12 of On Tyranny: Make eye contact and small talk- “This is not just polite. It is part of being a citizen and a responsible member of society. It is also a way to stay in touch with your surroundings, break down social…