Summer Retrospective, Part 2

Love dat Dali

Over the last few days I’ve been watching Dirty Dali by the recently departed art critic, Brian Sewell (1931- September 19, 2015).  This 45 min documentary (in convenient 8 minutes chunks) tells the story of Dali from a unique personal experience.

Sewell was a well known British art critic. At his best, he was described as harsh.  At his worst, he appears to have been an inflated sexist, who is stuck in the past. He was known for his disdain of certain modern artists, such as Banksys, and Damien Hirst. In his review of Hirst’s 2012 show at the Tate, Sewell said;

“To own a Hirst is to tell the world that your bathroom taps are gilded and your Rolls-Royce is pink,” adding, “Put bluntly, this man’s imagination is quite as dead as all the dead creatures here suspended in formaldehyde.

Catch the review here. I may not agree with him, but I am amused by his flamboyantly offensive attitude.

This film is a portrait of Dali in his declining years. It is a mix of straight biography and pieces taken from the critic’s review of his personal experience meeting Dali.  Beware, the movie includes a detailed description of a sexual encounter between the two of them.

Every time I see Dali on film, I am so thankful that we have this kind of footage. To understand the lasting allure of Dali, it is useful to watch how theatrical and ridiculous he could be. In his prime, some wrote Dali off as an attention grabbing maniac with little substance. Today, Im not sure we would be so dismissive.  We are so waterlogged with superficiality and two second vine clips in the media.  Dali was just ahead of the curve.


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