Thursday, November 09, 2006

Hello, Dali

I had the day off yesterday, and went to the Ueno Go Club (first time) and the Salvador Dali Centennial Exhibition at the Ueno Mori Museum. The exhibit is well worth seeing, something like a hundred of his works, starting from his teens and going into the 1980s. I was surprised to see some Cubist works (in both form and palette) in his early period. If this exhibition is any judge, surrealism sprang from his head full-blown in about 1927; I didn't see anything I'd consider a "transitional" work.

The logistics aren't perfect. His pencil sketches are dimly lit, presumably to protect the paper, but that makes them difficult to appreciate. And he painted a couple of stereo pairs which are very large; it's impossible to get far enough away from them to cross your eyes and see the stereo effect without a crowd gathering between you and the paintings.

Speaking of which, though it was a Wednesday afternoon, the museum was crowded. Go early.

The catalog appears to be only in Japanese, though the works were all titled in both English and Japanese. Some of the quotes on the wall were in English, some in Spanish, all translated into Japanese. But for paintings, at least, an English explanation is optional; we recently went to see the exhibit of Chinese terra-cotta warriors at the Tokyo-Edo Museum, and that also had no English, which would definitely leave you lost if you couldn't read Japanese. "What the heck is that? When was it made?" Those are important questions for historical artifacts.

Anyway, Dali is there until Jan. 4. Don't wait!

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