1. "The Late Work" is definitely not synonymous with Dalí's most celebrated work. In an article for the Guardian just a few years ago, the critic Robert Hughes said "most Dalí after the late-30s became either kitschy repetition of old motifs or vulgarly pompous piety on a Cinamascope scale." This being the first major exhibition of his work after 1940, King said that he hopes the exhibit will "change the way a lot of people feel about Dalí's later work."
2. For the first time in decades, the large paintings "Christ of St. John of the Cross," "Assumpta Corpuscularia Lapislazulina," and "Santiago El Grande" will be seen in the US. Even the curator, King, hadn't seen "Assumpta Corpuscularia Lapislazulina" in person before working on this exhibit.
3. Aside from those classically influenced works, there's plenty of kitsch in the exhibit, too. Especially entertaining are a series of rarely seen society portraits that were commissioned by wealthy Hollywood types but outright mock the subjects. Jack Warner apparently hated his own portrait so much that he had it hung in his dog's kennel.
4. Along with the standard audio tour, the museum is offering an audio tour for children that's narrated by a singing mustache. Seriously.
5. The pencil study for "The Madonna of Port Lligat" is a helpful clue to the ways he started playing with the influence of masters like Da Vinci and Velázquez, incorporating careful geometric patterns and religious iconography.
6. The largest painting in the exhibition, "Santiago El Grande", is meant to be viewed at a high angle. To get the full effect of this massive leaping horse, crouch down in front of the canvas and look up.
7. The exhibition establishes Dalí's influence on pop art, from his promotional pictures with Philippe Halsman to works of Ben-Day dots that predate Roy Lichtenstein's use of them by years to evidence of Andy Warhol's fawning adoration (including a bag of Dalí's trash that Warhol treasured).
8. Iconoclastic artist and Dalí collector, Jeff Koons is coming to speak about the influence Dalí had on his own career and work on October 5.
9. Ever wonder how the Assumption of Mary actually happened? Apparently Dalí wrote a letter to the Pope asking how it was physically possible for the Virgin Mary to float. He never got a response, which led him to conceive the atomized version of the event in "Assumpta Corpuscularia Lapislazulina."
10. The opening night party, Surreal Soiree, will feature a fashion show with works by local artists including Grant Henry aka Sister Louisa, R.Land, Courtney McClellan, Andy Moon Wilson, Lucha Rodriguez, Tracy Wagner, Cooper Sanchez, Jessica Swift, Kelly Teasley, HC Warner, and Kenn Twofour.
Dalí: The Late Work opens at the High Museum on Sat., August 7, 2010 and runs until Sun., January 9, 2011.
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