Gangsterism and Goofy Visions of New York

Over the weekend I went home to see the major Salvador Dalí retrospective at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and came face to face with this unexpected treat...

Gangsterism and Goofy Visions of New York

Salvador Dalí, Gangsterism and Goofy Visions of New York1

Gangsterism and Goofy Visions of New York is apparently an illustration for a series of articles about American life that Dalí wrote for The American Weekly from 1934 to 1935. Of prime interest to me, of course, is the comic strip in the central tier — it's more akin to a Punch cartoon than a modern comic strip, but it's still telling that Dalí thought a series of sequential images would tell his story more powerfully than mere worlds. I suppose it's time to hit the microfilm and see what other drawings Dalí produced to accompany his articles.

Strangely, the exhibition catalog says this illustration is "like a movie storyboard" even though it's quite clearly a comic strip. Another sign, I suppose, that comics — even those done by one of the 20th century's most famous and influential artsts — are flying below the critical radar of the fine arts community. I'll let saner heads bludgeon you over the head with the implcations, though.

"Dalí" is on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art through May 15, and at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice from September 12 through January 16. After that, Gangsterism and Goofy Visions of New York will return to its home at the Menil Collection in Houston.

  1. Page 240 of the catalog, for those of you playing along at home.

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