Salvador Dalí, collaborating with Luis Buñuel, was a main force in surrealist cinema in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Therefore it is fitting that the Museum of Modern Art in New York has mounted an exhibit titled “Dalí: Painting and Film” (June 29-Sept. 15, 2008), which examines the artist’s contributions to cinema in a dramatically impressive display.
In some respects, this is conventional Dalí, with an array of pictures, large and small, that reflect his broad imagination, defiance of convention and the colorful playfulness in which the painter indulged in breaking artistic barriers. That portion of the exhibition alone is dynamic. But there are also examples projected on large screens of his collaboration with filmmakers.
The obvious choices are there--“Un Chien andalou” (1929) and “L’Âge d’or (1930). But Dalí also did work for Walt Disney, and actually spent time working at the Disney Studio in connection with “Fantasia.” More interestingly, he also worked for Alfred Hitchcock, who asked him to do create dream sequences for “Spellbound.” On display are sketches for the film in addition to a continuous loop of the sequences.
Three of Dalí’s contributions were used in “Spellbound,” but there were revisions, and the credit he received in the final version was “based upon the designs of Salvador Dalí.”
The unique exhibition, described as the first to explore the relationship between the artist and cinema, is strong in concept and execution, with considerable time needed to enjoy its scope to the fullest. At the Museum of Modern Art, 11 West 53rd Street, Phone: 212-708-9400 or www.moma.org.