What is Art? “Dali/Duchamp” Premieres

February 6, 2018

What is Art? The Conceptual and the Surreal Collide in “Dali/Duchamp”
First Exhibit Dedicated to the Friendship of Marcel Duchamp and Salvador Dalí Opens February 10

ST. PETERSBURG, FLA (Feb 6, 2018) – Discover how two inventive, irreverent individuals forever changed how we see art – and artists – as The Dalí premieres its new special exhibition, Dali/Duchamp, this Saturday, February 10. On display through May 27, 2018, this singular exhibition is the first of its kind dedicated to the friendship and mutual influence of two of the twentieth century’s greatest artists – the father of conceptual art, Marcel Duchamp, and Salvador Dalí, the champion of traditional painting and the imagination. Dalí and Duchamp were generally thought to represent completely different approaches to art, but through this unique exhibition their world of shared ideas is on full display. Dali/Duchamp is organized by The Dalí Museum and the Royal Academy of Arts in London, where it was exhibited last fall and received critical acclaim and high praises throughout the UK. While collaborating on this groundbreaking show, The Dalí and the Royal Academy agreed to debut the pairing at their respective museums in London and St. Petersburg, Florida. This is the only opportunity visitors will have to see the exhibit in the States.

Presented as a conversation taking place through art, this rare and focused exploration offers fresh ways of looking at these two figures, radically revising their familiar places in art history. As personalities, Dalí and Duchamp were worlds apart; Dalí was the self-professed genius and first modern artist-celebrity, whereas Duchamp had a quieter, subtler demeanor. Duchamp was associated with the art movements of Dada and Surrealism, and is famous for conceptual art – art where the idea of the work is more important than the completed work itself – and for creating the first “readymade,” an everyday object presented as a work of art.  In contrast, Dalí was a defender of classical techniques in painting and the champion of artistic tradition. He was a surrealist and a superior technician who, like Duchamp, thought the idea of an artwork was of prime importance.

Despite their differences, they maintained an enduring bond of mutual admiration. What fueled this surprising relationship was deeper than their shared artistic interests – among them eroticism, language, optics and games. More fundamentally, the two men were united by a combination of humor and skepticism, which led both, in different ways, to challenge conventional views of art and life.

“We are honored by so many aspects of this exhibition,” Hank Hine, Executive Director of The Dalí Museum, said. “We are pleased that we were able to find such a great partner for developing and presenting this exhibition with us – London’s Royal Academy – and we are proud that the scholarship for this exhibition grew substantially out of research prompted by The Dalí. It is truly an honor to host, and share with our local community, a roomful of the modern era’s most significant artistic works.”

Dali/Duchamp is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view more than 50 works showcasing some of Dali’s most acclaimed paintings and sculptures, including three paintings never before seen at The Dalí – Christ of Saint John of the Cross (c. 1951), Apparition of Face and Fruit Dish on a Beach (1938) and Two pieces of bread expressing the sentiment of love (1940)as well as Duchamp’s groundbreaking assemblages and ready-mades. It will also include the less familiar: photographs by Dali, paintings by Duchamp, and correspondence and collaborations between the two artists and is organized as a dialogue between them through four themes – Identities and a Challenge to Painting; Playing Games; Science and Religion; and the Body and the Object.

Beyond the exhibition gallery, a variety of corresponding programs inspired by Dalí and Duchamp are planned, including the popular monthly Coffee with a Curator lecture series; Artflix, the Museum’s themed movies series; activities for families in The Dalí’s free first-floor Stavros Education Room and more. The Museum will also host monthly Thursday evening game nights for the community February through May, as an homage to Dalí and Duchamp’s love of games. The series will kick off February 22 with Drag Queen Bingo, in collaboration with Hamburger Mary’s, including a talk on the artistry and history of drag. On March 29, The Dalí will host the ultimate chess game day with special guest, Grandmaster chess champion and co-author of Marcel Duchamp: The Art of Chess, Jennifer Shahade for a lecture, open games with ranked area chess players and the opportunity to face off against Shahade in a Surreal Simul Chess Game. Events for April and May are also planned.

Exhibition organized by The Dalí Museum, St Petersburg, FL and the Royal Academy of Arts, London, in collaboration with the Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation and the Association Marcel Duchamp. Exhibition curated by Dawn Ades and William Jeffett, with Sarah Lea and Desiree de Chair. This exhibition contains challenging images, including adult content.


The Dalí Museum, located in the heart of beautiful downtown St. Petersburg, Florida, is home to an unparalleled collection of Salvador Dalí art, featuring more than 2,000 works comprising nearly 100 oil paintings; over 100 watercolors and drawings; and 1,300 prints, photographs, sculptures and objets d’art.

The building is itself a work of art, featuring 1,062 triangular-shaped glass panels – the only structure of its kind in North America. Nicknamed The Enigma, it provides an unprecedented view of St. Petersburg’s picturesque waterfront. The Museum has attracted the world’s attention, and among the other distinguished awards it has received, it is the first and only museum in the Southeastern United States to be recognized internationally by the Michelin Guide with a three-star rating.

The Dalí Museum is located at One Dalí Boulevard, St. Petersburg, Florida 33701. For additional information contact 727.823.3767 or visit TheDali.org.

Media Contact: Lorin Augeri | LAugeri@paradiseadv.com | 727.821.5155 x120