February 11, 2011

Literary Pick (****)

Salvador Dali and the Surrealists
-Michael Elsohn Ross
This is a biography and activity art-book intended for young adults. I received it as a Christmas present from my SIL, who isn't an art lover, as far as I know, which perhaps explains why she gave me this book in the first place, but I was very happy to receive it nevertheless. Surprisingly, up until now I had never read anything on Dali. Of course I've heard of Dali and the surrealist movement.. who hasn't? but that's as far as my knowledge of him extended. I can easily identify his artworks, but I knew nothing of his life. This book perhaps inadvertently portrayed him as an insecure obnoxious rival-rouser struggling to remain confident throughout his early art career. He was portrayed as an attention-whoring opportunist, turning his back on old friends and colleagues once he gained fame and notoriety. He seemed like the Heidi Spencer of his time. However, deep down inside there is something very sad and pitiful about his career and his ego. He grew up as an insecure kid who was bullied throughout his early years in school, and slowly developed his confidence by having a generation me mentality, which made him extremely famous, but in his later years the fame seemed to have gone to his head and he began commercializing his artwork a bit too much, and it affected his credibility as a serious artist. He was in a very long relationship with a woman by the name of Gala, who seemed to have been very abusive towards him when he was old. I don't know..there's just something so sad about his life. But the book was very interesting and educational. It mentions art movements such as Dada, surrealism, expressionism,  and pop-art. It also talks about Franco, Hitler, and how the WWI affected artists and the art world. I enjoyed it very much.

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