Sunday, August 3, 2008

‘Groucho-Shiva’

Finally made it to “Dalí: Painting and Film” at MoMA over the weekend. An interesting and well designed show, and a real feast for any Surrealism fan. But must, must remember never to go to MoMA on a Saturday afternoon. It felt like an airport, and Dalí in particular was the most crowded show I’ve been to since Leonardo at the Met five years ago. At least this time people didn’t go over each piece with a magnifying glass, but the cattle pen that was the opening room (with Un chien andalou) almost sent me home.

The biggest reason I’m glad I stayed is this:

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Dalí was apparently a huge Marx Brothers fan, with a particular admiration for Harpo. (Dalí once sent him a harp strung with barbed wire; Harpo sent back a photo of bandaged hands.) Dalí proposed a script for a Marx Brothers movie, called “Giraffes on Horseback Salad”; Groucho rejected it. But at some point he drew a number of pictures of the Marxes, including the above “Groucho-Shiva” from 1937.

Unfortunately that image, which is credited to the collection of “James and Lee Marx,” is not reproduced in the exhibition catalog, nor on any poster or postcard or anything else that I could see. I would love to know more about it.

The show also features Dalí’s collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock (he did the dream sequence in Spellbound) and even Walt Disney, with whom he worked on an aborted cartoon called “Destino,” which is shown in posthumously completed form, and it’s amazing. Also worth seeing are Dalí’s insane portraits of Hollywood bigshots like Jack Warner.


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2 comments:

Rob said...

Vejune and I caught the exhibit when it was at LACMA last fall. I loved it, but left with an overwhelming sense of dread (not just from the crowds).

Anonymous said...

I just went to this show in august. Groucho shiva was the best part of the show.