Arts Miami with Tony Japour
Anthony Japour (AJ) is an independent curator, private art dealer and owner of AJ Japour Gallery. The gallery deals in contemporary art with a focus on the Chinese Contemporary Art Movement and its relationship to the pillars of Western Contemporary Art. Since 2003, AJ has produced numerous art exhibitions and installations in Miami and South Florida. In addition, the Gallery’s secondary mission is to support organizations dedicated to the health, education, and welfare of children. AJ has served on the Fine Arts Board and the Cultural Arts Council of the City of Miami Beach.
Salvador Dali (1904-1989) born in Figueres, Catalonia, Spain was – and would be even by today’s standards- considered an eccentric with a flair for the grandiose.
In the 1970’s, a friend of mine was in Central Park with her twin sister when Dali strolled by and, without a word, linked the arms of both sisters with a flourish, one on each side, and continued to edge of the Park whereupon he let them loose and continued on his way. The twins were art enthusiasts and were thrilled to have shared an eccentric moment with the famed Dali.
Billed as the largest privately owned collection of Dali ever to come to the US, the Moore Building, with its own surrealistic interior redesign by Zaha Hadid, was a fitting location to exhibit one of the fathers of surrealism.
Dali promoted the idea of paranoiac-critical method in which artist access the subconscious for artistic inspiration. One of Dali’s most important works, known as Persistence of Memory, 1931 represents idea and also a philosophic statement; one interpretation of the work is that the softness of the watches rejects the notion of time as rigid or deterministic. This work also asks to be considered in the context of the burgeoning field of quantum physics and Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, which was just coming into the collective consciousness in the 1930’s.
For Dali, politics was both his friend and foe. While he considered himself an anarchist, his refusal to speak out against Hitler or Fascism led to his “trial” by Surrealist colleagues. This “trial” led to his expulsion from the Surrealist group of artists. Not withstanding, Dali is famously known to have said “I myself am surrealism.”
With a deep respect for the history of art and the classical works of art, his signature moustache is said to have been influenced by the Spanish painter, Diego Velázquez, a derivation of which was incorporated in Dali Miami’s logo.
One of the highlights of the exhibition were several works from the Clot Collection- a group of 44 sculptures Dali created in the 1970’s during summer visits to his friend, art dealer Isidoro Clot.
Using a “lost wax” process, Dali created these works while he was suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Because the wax was soft, he was able to mold the medium to create interesting works on view at Dali Miami such as Nude Ascending a Staircase, a tribute to Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase. Several of the sculptures from this series were on view at the Moore Building.
Original paintings were mostly absent from the exhibition, possibly due to the high value of the works. Many etchings, lithographs, pen and ink works were on view, however, providing nice examples of Dali’s paintings.
A discussion of Salvador Dali Collections in Florida wouldn’t be complete without mention that we in Florida have one of the most important collections of Salvador Dali in the world housed at The Dali Museum in St. Petersburg.
The Dali Museum houses the collection of A. Reynolds and Eleanor R. Morse. The Morses’ were collectors and friends with the artist, and later in life Reynolds Morse became an authority on Dali’s works. On view now in St. Petersburg is ¡Viva la Revelación!, which presents the collection in a chronological sequence, highlighting key works and transitional relationships in Dali’s oeuvre.
4040 NE 2nd Avenue
Miami, FL 33137