I had already visited the old Salvador Dalí museum in St. Petersburg (near Tampa) back in 2009 give or take. I enjoyed the docent’s schtick so much that I used to tell people that the Dalí was my favorite museum, after the MoMA of course.
After having visited the new and improved Dalí museum on 1 Dalí Boulevard in St. Pete, just 8 blocks from the former museum, the MoMA is going to have to do something super cool real soon to keep up its spot at #1. I mean, just look at the Dalí place!–
See, the building itself is cool and Dalí-esque. The outdoor terrace is complete with melting clock on a bench à la The Persistence of Memory (1931) or The Disintegration of the Persistence of Memory (1952 – 1954). They have a video here on the ABC news site from last January when the new building was opened.
The very worst part about my visit today is that I was a beach bum for the first part of the day, so I only arrived at the museum just after 3, which was waaay too late. The gallery closed today at 5:30, and the gift shop stayed open until 6, and I truly didn’t want to leave, so naturally I ended up buying a really awesome packaged set of 12 Dalí prints for $24.95. You do the math. They are all 8 x 11 and on high quality paper. I am extremely satisfied with my purchase. And, if I keep up this Spanish-teaching gig (I want to keep up the Spanish-teaching thing, so long as our economy will continue to provide a position for me), it would make sense to have Dalí prints, well at least the more child-friendly ones, all over the place. Thanks to my late arrival, I neither had time to visit the outdoor labyrinth nor learn the back story to the fountain of youth outside. A third visit is required, it would seem.
The helix-shaped stairway up to the gallery was mesmerizing, due to its utter lack of side supports. I guess we’ll just have to trust the engineers on that one. Shane and I had seen back in March 2009 (how on Earth do I remember so specifically when?) a similarly non-supported spiral staircase at an old church in Santa Fe, NM. Anyway, there are great windows and Tampa bay seen from the spiral staircase. Apparently Dalí was interested in the helix shape in the 50s when the shape of DNA was discovered.
I ate incredible gazpacho soup in the Cafe Gala (named after the love of Dalí’s life; naturally she was married with a baby when he first laid hungry eyes on her) for $3.50. You can see the cafe tables there at the bottom of the picture. (I’ve somehow managed to include mention of food in the majority of my posts.)
P.S. Usually my favorite Dalí is the Hallucinogenic Toreador (1968 – 1970). Today, I have a new favorite, although it is much simpler, and a much earlier work from the 30s– The Average Bureaucrat. It is the picture of Dalí’s father with cross-sections cut into his brain so we can see. It is mostly empty, filled with seashells that rattle. Dad issues? The myriad of other works where Dalí’s father gets depicted with a lion head would suggest affirmative to the dad issue question. This one is my current favorite, as it is a great rendering of what we should not allow ourselves mindlessly to become. Forgive the pun.