On the Town: Dalí/Duchamp at the Dali Museum

By Virginia Johnson, Entertainment Reporter
Last Updated: Tuesday, February 06, 2018, 6:27 PM EST

One of them is considered by some as the 'Father of Surrealism.' (Surrealist writer André Breton rolls in his grave every time.)

The other is considered a pioneer of conceptual art, and as a contributor to the art movement known as "Dada" was a thorn in the side of the art establishments in Paris and New York for almost a decade.

Together, the two mavericks redefined the ideas behind their mediums.

“They were rebels,” explained Dr. Hank Hine, Director of the Dalí Museum.

The Dalí Museum’s latest exhibition, "Dalí/Duchamp," opening Feb. 10 and running through May 27, reunites Surrealist Salvador Dalí with conceptual artist Marcel Duchamp. Decades ago, the two were peers in the avante garde art world.

“They became friends -- for over 50 years they were friends,” said Hines of Dalí and Duchamp.

Duchamp’s upside down urinal, entitled “Fountain,” the watershed piece at times credited with emphatically announcing "Dada" to the world, sits next to Dalí’s iconic lobster telephone.

Both pieces called into question the very idea of art, and at the time forcefully challenged what the establishment qualified as "art."

One part of the exhibition is devoted to their affinity for contests.

Dalí even made his own version of a chess board and pieces as a gift for Duchamp, as chess was their favorite game.

Photo by Robert Descharnes and Paul Averty. ©Descharnes & Descharnes sarl 2016. Duchamp and Dalí playing chess during filming for A Soft Self-Portrait, 1966 (photograph, 21×31 cm). Archivo Fotografico Pere Vehi, Cadaques

They both also enjoyed humor -- check out the print of the Mona Lisa with the Dalí mustache addition, or the Snow Shovel Duchamp named “In Advance on the Broken Arm.”

There’s also a glass orb that contains the air of Paris and a bicycle wheel connected to a stool, each courtesy of Duchamp, who repurposed found objects into what he called "readymades."

Both artists wanted to take art beyond the visual and elevate it in order to challenge old and stultifying notions of art as well as push people to think and feel differently about art.

 “They both believed that it was spiritual and they wanted to reinfuse spirit into art,” explained Hine.