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Make Art Great Again:
The Good Optics of Salvador Dalí, Part 3

[1]

Salvador Dalí, Perpignan Train Station

5,557 words

Part 3 of 3 (Part 1 here [2], Part 2 here [3])

With Young Virgin Auto-Sodomized by Her Own Chastity [4], Dalí returned to his paranoiac-critical concerns (i.e., autoeroticism), but now transformed. The paranoiac origin is Dalí’s obsession with Vermeer’s The Lacemaker, which in turn he believed to “consist” in rhinoceroses’ horns. The auto-erotic impulse transforms these horns into the image of a young nude woman’s buttocks, which in turn are ready to be penetrated by two more horns.[1] [5] And yet . . .

The “atomic” treatment, however, guarantees that the elements never touch, never actually arrive at any form of physical congress. This is why Dalí felt that “Paradoxically, this painting, which has an erotic appearance, is the most chaste of all.” The nuclearity, he argued, guaranteed the girl’s chastity.[2] [6]

This idea, that the “nuclear” treatment of objects could “create the diaphanous transparency necessary to elicit a devotional response,” thus combining mysticism and science, continued to inspire Dalí for the rest of the ‘50s, culminating in 1955 with “his ambitious effort to reimagine the theme of the Last Supper, inspired by Leonardo’s legendary 1499 fresco.”

The authors — as in their earlier book The da Vinci Legacy — discuss the several ways Leonardo “broke with the traditional Italian iconography.” E.g., what to do with the disciples? Leonardo sets his fresco at the moment Jesus announces his upcoming betrayal, which “gave him the opportunity to capture the disciples in a great variety of poses as they each respond to this shocking announcement.” Dalí, however, “returned to the traditional idea of the Last Supper as the institution of the Eucharist,” hence the title, The Sacrament of the Last Supper [7].

Where Leonardo continues to inspire is in Dalí’s use of sacred geometry (rather than his own “nuclear mysticism”) in the presentation of the apostles (a series of pentagons) and the grid-like composition as a whole (using the divine proportion of the Golden Section), as Leonardo had used in such works as his Vitruvian Man: “the scene is set in a vast dodecahedron, a twelve-sided geometric model that, according to Plato, symbolized the universe [providing] the perfect blend of faith and geometry, of God and science, which lay at the core of Dalí’s concept of nuclear mysticism”:

But like Leonardo’s Christ, Dalí’s Jesus is engaged in an elaborate pantomime of gestures that, we assume, carry an important theological meaning. With his right hand, Jesus points to a heavenly torso floating above, signifying his coming resurrection and ascension into heaven. The nude torso, with its faint echo of Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man, may also signify the ekklesia, the Church representing the body of Christ on earth. To further emphasize the transcendental nature of Christ and his coming resurrection as a divine being, his figure is transparent against the ubiquitous backdrop of the Bay of Cadaqués as seen from Port Lligat.

The catalog of the 2010 exhibit in Atlanta calls it “the perfect synthesis of Dalí’s interest in the “intersection of science and mathematics with the subconscious mind,” and the curator added that it “reflects his conviction that science, and in particular nuclear physics, offered proof for the existence of God.”

1958 brought a commission from Huntington Hartford for his planned art museum at Columbus Circle in New York.[3] [8] The result, Christopher Columbus [9],[4] [10] would no doubt cause a riot among the Woke today for its unrepentant celebration of Spain’s triumph:[5] [11]

It marks the end of the artist’s fascination with “atomic” suspension and disaggregation, in favor of what perhaps could best be called “magical realism” . . . Realismo mágico refers to a style of heightened realism with fully realized characters and settings, leavened with allegorical or supernatural motifs that give the work a mysterious or fantastic dimension.

Thus, while Columbus’s ship and the characters that emerge form it are drawn in sharp, almost painfully photographic realism, the floating crucifixes and other otherworldly elements give the painting a mysterious and seemingly mythic quality that saves the work from being a mere historical depiction.

[12]

You can buy James O’Meara’s The Homo and the Negro here [13].

Such “otherworldly” elements include the usual citations from the Old Masters, given the usual Dalían reimagining, such as a floating version of Michelangelo’s 1502 Pieta and a banner of Gala reminiscent of Muillo’s Santa Maria de la Immaculada Concepcion, in which “Gala’s figure appears to be a painted image on the banner, whereas the rich drapery that surrounds her breaks free from the fabric to become a three-dimensional object in itself.”

Dalí continued to keep abreast of modern developments, and even anticipate them. He became fascinated with the benday dot printing technique [14], and eventually produced The Sistine Madonna [15] (1958), a “highly rasterized” version of Raphael’s work that, when viewed from a distance, resolves into what Dalí called “the pope’s ear.” This was several years before Roy Lichtenstein would “pioneer” the technique. “With this painting, Dalí presaged the explosion of Pop Art in the decade to come—a fact that has forced many modern critics to take his work of the late 1950s more seriously.”

Race realists and IQ fanatics will be pleased to hear that Dalí also took note of the discovery of DNA, which Dalí inevitably thought was further evidence of his “syncretic theory” of science and the divine. Officially titled Galacidalacidesoxiribunucleicacid [16] — though usually referred to as Homage to Crick and Watson (Discoverers of DNA), this 1963 work, containing “cube-like clusters” of Berber riflemen, homages to Michelangelo’s Pieta, and Raphael’s Isaiah, Gala in her “traditional role as the human observer of this supernatural vision” and miniature portraits of Crick and Watson is “rather mannered” and “lacks some of the arresting majesty and visual power” of the paintings we’ve discussed.

The unpronounceable title would be preferred today, and perhaps the pictures of Watson and perhaps Crick as well would be “cancelled.”[6] [17] Indeed, there is something of a premonition of Woke concerns in this work, [7] [18] from the title, which adds El Cid and Allah to Dalí, Gala, and DNA,[8] [19] to the Berber riflemen, to the abandonment of the familiar landscape of Port Lligat and environs: “The scene emerges not from a rich Dalínian aquamarine but from the swirling browns and yellows of the desert, lit by the bright light of the African sun.” In 1965 Dalí “explained” it thus:

[DNA is] thus verifying the Dalínian idea of the persistence of memory of the history of Spain, my country, and of the Arab people, consubstantially mingled to the point that only the cybernetic machines of the future will be able to disentangle them with clarity, thanks to the microphysical structures of moire, mescaline of the retina.

As we have seen, for Dalí — if not for Franco, or the current regime — to be Spanish was by no mean limited to being Castilian, or even white or Christian. (Or maybe the point is that Catalonia is inextricably a part of Spain? This ethnic stuff is hard.)

The Ecumenical Council [20] (1960), commemorating the election of Pope John XXIII (whose ear we saw in The Sistine Madonna), is another “collage of many disparate themes and ideas that float about the sky without any concern for spatial realism or perspective.” While officially Dalí would brag that it “commemorated the greatest historical event of our time and which, prudently, I have painted before it has met,” at the same time:

The swirling mass of the Ecumenical Council and its blend of the real and the supernatural, of matter and spirit, conveys Dalí’s continuing fascination with the idea of blending modern science with religious ideas, of reconciling two fundamentally opposing views of how the modern world was supposed to function.

Dalí discovered quantum physics and particularly Werner Heisenberg’s “Uncertainty Principle” in 1958, and he inevitably “interpreted this as proving his theory that human and divine elements are inexorably interlinked, and that the mysteries of the world can never be defined by scientific theorems alone.” It also substantiated the Surrealist idea that the unconscious was a valid source of ideas for interpreting the world:

“In the Surrealist period I wanted to create the iconography of the interior world and the world of the marvelous, of my father Freud. Today the exterior world and that of physics, has transcended the one of psychology. My father today is Dr. Heisenberg.”

In any event, this would be the last of Dalí’s “grande machines” for exploring the intersection of science and Catholic mysticism. As usual, art critics mocked them, but rich Americans snapped up these narrative paintings on current, even “scientific” themes.

Excursus: “Say my name”

The paranoiac-critical method has one final trick to show us. Seeing Dalí announce that “Heisenberg is my father,” I immediately began to consider Dalínian images in Breaking Bad: human heads on turtles [21], a man walking out of a room while adjusting his tie but missing half his face, various human bodies decomposing in acid baths, the general landscape of New Mexico, etc. Imagine my delight to find that this territory has already been explored, and quite recently, at the Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida:

The Influence of Salvador Dalí in Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. [22]

 

In this lecture, Marc Valdez of Sacramento, California, describes how Salvador Dalí’s works influenced symbolic representations in these shows as well as the choice of filming locations for popular Breaking Bad episodes such as “Four Days Out” and “Say My Name.” Final Season 6 of Better Call Saul is filming now in Albuquerque, to be aired in 2022 with plenty more Dalínian influences on display.

Salvador Dalí’s extravagant style and creativity make him the perfect guiding spirit for two acclaimed television shows, Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. Such guidance includes:

Origin of Walter White’s criminal alias, ‘Heisenberg’;
Use of the perfume Lily of the Valley as a poison;
Origin of commonly-used emblems such as the Golden Moth;[9] [23]
Camera angles for specific scenes, such as Chuck’s visit to the hospital;
Set design for a portion of the Superlab; and,
Use of specific props and costumes.

I guess Dad was wrong to say those Art History classes were a waste of money!

*  *  *

The ‘60s — while somewhat crazy for the rest of us — represented a period of taking stock for the aging Dalí, and even a return to earlier stages such as surrealism and autoeroticism.

In 1963 Dalí experienced “cosmogonic ecstasy” at the Perpignan railway station, the crossing point between the Spanish and French railways which Dalí had travelled for years between Cadaqués and Paris. This “crossing point” between the land of his birth and the land of his “artistic awakening,” between traditional and fascist Spain and liberal democratic France, between his studio and the art market, was “actually the center of the universe.” The result was 1965’s  Perpignan Train Station [24]:

In sum, the painting combines a number of motifs that seek to epitomize some of the key themes of the preceding years: the abiding influence of Francois Millet and the erotic connotation of The Angelus; the continuing inspiration of faith and religion; and the role of Christ (and, by implication, Dalí himself) as the Salvadore, the savior of the world and modern art in particular.

The entry at Wikipedia seems to take a more fatalistic line:

The sacrifice of the son is imaged in the form of Christ on the Cross, with his crown of thorns, floating in the center of the composition. The bleeding wound of Christ is associated with the farmer’s fork (on the right) thrust into the ground (as a fertility ritual). Dalí is represented twice in the vertical axis: he appears in the light at the center of the image, seen from below, floating with arms spread, and again at the top of the painting. On the bottom of the painting lies a calm sea with a boat, an ancient symbol of the passage from life to death, reinforcing the theme of Christ’s sacrifice. Above the sea, a woman [Gala, of course] seen from the back watches these scenes, immobile, and recalling the helplessness of man facing death, symbolized not only by the bloody wounds of Christ, but also by Dalí, who, spread-eagled, seems to fall into nothingness.[10] [25]

At the top center of the painting, a flat wagon carrying a specialized trailer comes out of nowhere (characteristic of Surrealism), and reminds one of . . . the railway station of Perpignan . . . The left side of the painting shows embodiment of positive values (the couple on the bags of wheat represent labor, and the man in a meditative pose embodies respect), while on the right of the image are embodied sins and suffering (the man and woman representing lust, and the woman mourning). The two figures flanking the far left and right sides are taken from The Angelus.

As we’ve seen, Dalí associated The Angelus with death as well as labor. This morbid theme continues in his next masterpiece, Tuna Fishing [26] (1967), based on his father’s “Homeric” stories, set in a cove called L’Almadrava, an Arabic word apparently meaning “place where fish are caught,” thus returning to the theme of Dalí’s rootedness in Cadaqués, Catholic, and Arabic Spain, and Western culture in general.

This is another anthology painting, and the figures of the fishermen battling with monstrous tuna demonstrate again Dalí’s mastery of the major schools of Western painting: Renaissance, Spanish Baroque, nineteenth-century academic painting, Pointillism, surrealism, and even Pop Art.

For example, the figure at far left, copied from the figure of Alkyoneus on the Hellenistic Pergamon frieze, strikes a stark contrast with the op art–like stencil of a young male in the foreground, or the fantastically colored Surrealist nude male to the right. In the background, another battle is in progress, this time involving a group of fishermen on their vessel, grappling with tuna of whale-like proportions. This scene carries echoes of Théodore Géricault’s The Raft of the Medusa, one of the most famous works of French nineteenth-century Romanticism, which depicts the survivors of a real-life shipwreck clinging to a hastily built raft amid the swells of a storm. In the midst of all this mayhem rises a nude nymph, calmly raising her right leg as if to dry herself after a leisurely bath.

But as always, Dalí is also au courant with the latest in science, or at least science as he understands it.

For Dalí, the closed universe of modern physics, and our necessarily finite lives within it, explains the origins of energy and activity; in an infinite universe we would settle into lassitude, and contra Pascal, it is the finitude of the universe that gives our lives meaning.

[27]

You can buy James O’Meara’s End of an Era here [28].

For the authors, Dalí’s vision of a frenzied tuna hunt “becomes a metaphor for the clash of species, of man against animal and man against man, as the modern world hurtles toward its inevitable nuclear Armageddon” — themes perhaps as much or even more appropriate for our own time of apocalyptic war and pandemic disease.

This retrospective decade also includes the creation of the two leading Dalí museums. In 1962, the mayor of Figueres asked its most famous son to donate some works to their museum. Dalí responded with the demand that, rather than a few paintings in a room, the Teatro Principal, burned during the Civil War, be restored to his designs so as to house a substantial collection in a Dalíesque environment: “It’ll be a completely theatrical museum. Visitors will leave feeling as if they’ve had a theatrical dream.” After the Prado in Madrid, it has become the second-most visited museum in Spain: Here’s a walking tour [29].

Funding was not found until 1968, and by 1974, only after years of Dalí importuning Franco and then-Prince Juan Carlos, the Teatre-Museu Dalí was finally unveiled. The opening night would again stymie the mayor’s plans: rather than “Europe’s creative elite, including artists, writers, and intellectuals,” the attendees were a thoroughly Dalínian crowd of celebrities, jet-setters, and fascist bureaucrats.

What would become the second-largest Dalí museum (and largest in the Western hemisphere) would, after several moves, be built in 2008 on Tampa Bay to house the collection of longtime patrons Albert and Eleanor Morse of Cleveland, Ohio, which is especially strong in the oversize “masterworks” of the ‘50s and ‘60s. They started collecting after the 1942 Museum of Modern Art travelling show, and I have always found it appropriate and even comforting that such a mass of Dalíana resides in the good ol’ United States of America, in a former Spanish colony, known for the “Florida Man [30]” of tabloid news and in a city founded by a fellow Detroiter and an exiled Russian aristocrat [31].

Take a virtual tour here [32].

In his last years — 1968-89 –, Dalí’s fascination with visual effects and scientific advances “was to be expanded with holography and stereoscopy.” While not producing anything to compete with the oversized masterworks of the ‘50s, Dalí declared these “binocular experiments” to be “a royal road of the spirit and the metaphysical dimension par excellence, for at long last we have recovered the third dimension.”

Dalí also returned to the Old Masters yet again, with a group of prints: Changes in Great Masterpieces (1974), six prints each depicting a masterwork with small alterations by Dalí:

The purpose of this print collection was to illustrate Dalí’s argument that while we may “look” at these masterpieces, we do not actually “see” all the details that qualify a painting as a true masterpiece. Thus, the changes are meant to intrigue and tantalize, as if in a visual puzzle. They challenge the beholder to identify the subtle changes that Dalí made in the work.

Even those in the most “alt” of the Alt Right would probably be rendered uncomfortable by Dalí’s compulsive return to “a theme that had both intrigued and terrorized him from the beginning, the female nude,” and more particularly, as combined with “his consuming interest in sodomy.” While this had previously led to such atomically chaste works as the Young Virgin Auto-Sodomized by Her Own Chastity [4] (discussed above), Dalí now preferred to have female visitors leave clay impressions of their anuses, a Dalínian variation on the idea of “sitters”:

During a taped interview with French television, Dalí declared that “the most important thing in the world is the arsehole.” Needless to say, this passage was omitted from the broadcast.

However, he was still capable of reasonably conservative cultural pronouncements:

The difference between eroticism and pornography, Dalí wrote in [The Erotic Metamorphoses], is that eroticism was “divine by nature” and a source of happiness, whereas pornography debased the human body and could only produce unhappiness.

And, a propos his beloved Old Masters, these courtly sentiments:

“Sentimental rigor and distance — as demonstrated by the neurotic ceremony of courtly love — increase passion.”

This may have been a “cope” for his separation from Gala, who had spent the previous 16 years in a castle in Púbol — bought, renovated, and maintained at his expense –, where Dalí was strictly forbidden to enter while she indulged her passion for young lovers like “a lady looking for her lost Russian youth.”

Still, “even as the remote goddess that she had become,” her death in 1982 led Dalí himself to an increasing obsession with death.[11] [33] Hospitalized with symptoms of the flu — how modern is that? –, Spain and the world were inundated with press releases and television coverage, constantly monitored by Dalí himself, that “reminded many Spaniards of the stream of press releases that had attended the slow decline of General Franco, thirteen years earlier.”[12] [34]

Dalí died some days later, “reportedly to the strains of his favorite record, Wagner’s Tristan und Isold [sic],”[13] [35] and was interred beneath the great dome of the Theater Museum; the funeral took place at the same church as his baptism and first communion.

*  *  *

In their “Epilogue,” the authors finally and formally address the answer to their question, “What is the secret of Salvador Dalí’s enduring success?”, although the answer is fairly clear and indeed was clear throughout:

He was the only one in the twentieth century who maintained the standards of draftsmanship and beauty that had defined Western art for over five hundred years.

[36]

You can buy Kerry Bolton’s More Artists of the Right here. [37]

While modern art lost itself in a spiral of nonfigurative, abstract art that would ultimately come to negate the painted surface itself, Dalí believed that he had remained true to “ultra-academic painting.” He had cleaved to a form of art, in sum, that was accessible and enjoyable for the general public, regardless of age or social condition — in sharp contrast to abstract art movements that were of interest only to a small elite of critics, collectors, and investors.

When Dalí “chose to return to the discredited ideas of nineteenth-century academic formalism,” he could be said to have “mounted his own counterreformation, just as the artists he so admired — Velázquez, Murillo, Zurbarán — were leading exponents of the Counter-Reformation to northern Protestantism.” This puts the atheist Breton in the odd position of not only taking the role I called “Pope Andre,” but also uttering his infallible Protestant bulls to condemn “Dalí’s ultimate sin [:] that he abandoned the guiding principle of modern art, the ongoing deconstruction of form”:

His art remained rooted in the academic vernacular of the nineteenth century, of the Pompiers and their Spanish followers, even if the conceptualization remained imbued with surrealist imagination.

He rejected the idea that a return to the technique and style of traditional realism also implied a break with Surrealist principles. Only by blending reality and imagination, the physical and the metaphysical, he argued, could Surrealism continue to plumb the human subconscious and the wellspring of spontaneous ideas.

Dalí was no hide-bound “conservative” or “reactionary” or any other bugaboo of the Surrealist or any other kind of “progressive” imagination. He simply had a dynamic understanding of tradition, in which to tools of craftsmanship enable the artist to confront the challenges of his age, employing new techniques and styles to express new realities:

Throughout the arc of Dalí’s oeuvre, the artist used the work of the Old Masters selectively. . . . Velázquez and Vermeer had shown him the way . . . the Spanish Baroque had explored new ways of negotiating the boundaries between the earthly and the ethereal.

Dalí saw himself as a messianic figure who could resolve the growing tensions between science and art, between sterile modernism and pure beauty, between reason and faith.

The artist’s painstaking craftsmanship goes hand in hand with a polymorphous grasp of culture, which includes traditional disciplines of knowledge as well as contemporary science.

He prophesied that his style of “quantum realism” would eventually become the dominant art form of the new age. . . .  “It will take into account what the physicists call quantum energy,” he said, “what mathematicians call chance, and what the artists call the imponderable: beauty.”

The combination of narrative realism and grappling with contemporary techniques and ideas had the — only superficially — paradoxical result of making him a populist artist:

While modern art increasingly became the province of the elite, Dalí’s art rekindled the yearning among audiences — and particularly American audiences — for a form of artistic expression that was beautiful to look at, and sufficiently mysterious to provoke thought.

“Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing,” he famously stated, which is why every painter “must have ultra-academic training.”

“However, he will always stand out as one of the very few twentieth-century painters who combines a profound respect for the traditions of the past with intensely modern feelings.”

The “relación-ship,” as Dalí would say, between Dalí, the public, and modern science continues long after his death. The good folks at the Dalí Museum have used AI to recreate the man artist and allow him to interact with his fans [38]. Dalí did not “believe in [my] own death. Do you [39]?”

*  *  *

Was Dalí a Man of the Right? Assuredly so! Dalí, from first to last, stood for tradition and craftsmanship in the arts. This naturally led him to an alliance with fascism, either openly — with Franco — or passively, with Mussolini and, perhaps only paranoiac-critically, Hitler. In addition, he stood apart from both post-war artistic ideologies — Soviet-style realism and the phony “abstract” art promoted by the CIA — while also mastering the latest artistic movements and technical innovations, so as to assimilate them to the Old Masters.[14] [40]

While his personal life was a bit “shameful” to the average citizen, what did it amount to but the avid pursuit of money[15] [41] and masturbation? Who of us can cast the first stone? The latter, especially in its sublimated form of Gala worship, fits in with the non-bourgeois elements of the Western tradition, found in the disorderly lives of mystics and artists, troubadours and tramps;[16] [42] while his straightforward pursuit of fame, money, and celebrity is at least refreshingly free of bourgeois hypocrisy.[17] [43]

Indeed, while the “art world” despised him for his devotion to craftsmanship,[18] [44] loyalty to his spiritual and artistic homelands (and the “fascist” politics that tried to preserve them), fascination with modern technology, and frank pursuit of fame and fortune, the public loved him for exactly the same reasons; and perhaps most of all for his bizarre pronouncements, simultaneously insightful and absurd, delivered in a language almost of his own creation — a kind of proto-troll.

More significantly, if the Dissident Right is looking for a way to espouse tradition within modernity and succeed with the public when doing so, it would do well to take a few lessons from this admittedly rather ambiguous figure — whose devotion to his homeland, Catalonia, did not exclude an attachment to the whole Spanish nation, including the Moors; whose inspiration by the Spanish Baroque did not prevent his appreciation of the Italian and Flemish masters; and who combined the mysticism of the Counter-Reformation with the latest discoveries of modern science and technology, achieving an artistic synthesis whose massive popularity endures to this day.

“The artist’s painstaking craftsmanship goes hand in hand with a polymorphous grasp of culture, which includes traditional disciplines of knowledge as well as contemporary science. . . . These things are vital to the meaning of his art.” (Jean-Louis Ferrier)

Dalí provides us with a suitable conclusion — appropriately enough, made during an interview on CBS TV:

Just as Raphael epitomized the Renaissance, Dalí claimed, so too “does Dalí paint the atomic age and the Freudian age nuclear things and psychological things.”[19] [45]

The authors are to be congratulated for producing a relatively short book with enough detail on Dalí’s life, art, and art history to be informative without overwhelming — although they may let their love and knowledge of Leonardo get a bit out of hand, I’m sure Dalí would approve.

I’m not familiar with Apollo Publishers, but the Kindle is exceptionally well-formatted, especially for an illustrated art book, which is notoriously hard to realize in the Kindle format. The copious illustrations are well-integrated into the text, and the zoom feature works well.

And before you go . . . would you like to take a selfie — a “drrr-eam photograph” — with Dalí [46]?

*  *  *

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Notes

[1] [48] Not Gala, for a change, but inspired by an image from a 1930s porn magazine, and also reminiscent of his 1925 Figure at a Window, which was a portrait of his sister, Ana Maria (and to which the authors draw an interesting comparison with Caspar David Friedrich’s 1822 Woman at the Window). Christopher Pankhurst has called [49] Friedrich “an early precursor of postmodern virtuality.”

[2] [50] Nevertheless, it hung for many years at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles “until it was auctioned at Sotheby’s in 2003 for 1.3 million pounds sterling.”

[3] [51] Hartford would be loathed by the usual “extreme left-wing intellectuals” who loathed Dalí as well, for his defiantly anti-modernist museum; Tom Wolfe called him “the Luther of Columbus Circle” in a piece for the New York Herald-Tribune that was later reprinted in Wolfe’s first anthology, The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby [52], and would much later oppose [53] the proposed deconstruction [54] of the Edward Stone building built to house it, which he had praised in his From Bauhaus to Our House. That the rather controversial building is in Moorish-style [55] must have delighted Dalí.

[4] [56] Again, I am using the author’s title for what is elsewhere known as Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus.

[5] [57] And Catalonia; the authors note that at the time, there were claims that Columbus was actually a Catalonian; I suppose Commie Catalonia no longer makes this claim.

[6] [58] Though not mentioning the cancelling of Watson, the authors instruct us that “as was typical of this ‘Mad Men’ age,” the supposed contribution of Rosalind Franklin “was not recognized when both men were awarded the 1962 Nobel Prize.” Racist and sexist, oh my!

[7] [59] Cf. Soft Construction with Boiled Beans (Premonition of Civil War) (1936), Dalí’s rather lackadaisical response to the demand for a PC response to the Spanish Civil War, a la Picasso’s Guernica.

[8] [60] Alan Watts, on a recording back in the ‘60s — I think Why Not Now — Dhyana, The Art of Meditation [61] (Together Records [2], ST-T-1025, 1969) — discusses the Sufi practice of endless repetition of the Divine Name, and points out that after only two or three reps, “Allah” becomes an indiscernible string of sound: “alalalalalalalalalalah . . .”; this could be the idea behind this title as well.

[9] [62] I particularly want to thank Dr. Valdez for connecting the Golden Moth of Breaking Bad with the Death’s Head Moth used in Silence of the Lambs.

[10] [63] Our authors take the more positive view: Dalí “seemingly jumping out of the sky, based on a photograph from the cover of his book Diary of a Genius [64].”

[11] [65] AI Dalí discusses death here [66].

[12] [67] A source of comic gold during Saturday Night Live’s first season, such as here [68]. 41 years later, Hitler reacts to the news here [69].

[13] [70] I assume the authors, who mangle the opera’s title twice and seem to think Wagner was a recording artist, mean a recording of the Liebestod; although Dalí might not have been the first to die during the five or so hours of the complete opera. When Buñuel and Dalí premiered Un Chien Andalou [71] to Parisian audiences, they played the Liebestod on a phonograph in the theater; could it have been the same record, whoever it was? In 1944 Dalí painted a massive backdrop for the ballet “Mad Tristan” at the Met; it was found in the Met’s prop storage in 2009 [72].

[14] [73]  A chap calling himself “Jung/Freud” writes in a long screed entitled “Putin and Hitler in the Failure of ‘Liberal’ Imagination, Problems of Revisionism, Zelensky and Woody Allen’s Zelig, or Zeliginsky [74]” that “Fascism, unlike communism or reactionary traditionalism, was open to experimenting with various combinations of leftism [modernism] and rightism [the Old Masters] to arrive at what works.” See, of course, Roger Griffin, Modernism and Fascism: The Sense of a Beginning under Mussolini and Hitler (London: Palgrave, 2007) and the discussion of it in the Appendix of Paul Gottfried, Fascism: The Career of a Concept, op. cit.

[15] [75] Pope André coined the anagram “Avida Dollars” from “Salvador Dalí.”

[16] [76] “Dalí was perhaps the only modern artist in which a devotion to religious themes could move in parallel with highly explicit erotic ideas.” Dalí declared that “I am in a state of permanent intellectual erection, and all my desires are granted”; and that his “long masturbatory discipline” had produced “a veritable cult of my own cock, which I never cease celebrating in all my work and actions, essentially notable for their aggressively phallic value.” The authors sum this up neatly: “For Dalí, eroticism was the secret energy that powers human life, including the human impulse to create art. Therefore, the two were closely intertwined.” Dalí likely never had “real” sex in his life, and while an admitted compulsive masturbator, he was no mere incel. Even here, Dalí stands within a Western (or indeed, perennial) tradition: sex transmutation; see the essay cited in note 32 above. For the role of sexual sublimation in the Western tradition, see Laurent Guyenot, “The Crucifixion of the Goddess: The rise and fall of Western Romanticism [77].” On the techniques of sexual transmutation, see Mitch Horowitz, The Power of Sex Transmutation: How to Use the Most Radical Idea from Think and Grow Rich (New York: G & D Media, 2019), and my review, “The Power of Positive Fapping: Napoleon Hill, Salesman & Sex Magickian [78].

[17] [79] It’s interesting that his greatest critics were Puritanical Communists like Pope André, who with typical hypocrisy forgave much the same in the life of the politically correct Picasso. We note again how Ayn Rand was drawn to his Corpus Hypercubus and found “a link between Dalí’s portrayal of Christ and the defiance of her character John Galt in her novel Atlas Shrugged;” Avida Dollars might have been a good pseudonym for Rand herself, with her cult of the gold dollar sign.

[18] [80] Although conservatives often laud craftsmanship in their critique of modern art, the Pre-Raphaelites — briefly mentioned by the authors as one of several movements opposed to academic art, and whose very name symbolizes their idea that art went wrong during the period of the Old Masters — are frequently championed by conservatives, despite their famously dire skills in composition and perspective, as “actually” a homage to medievalism or nature or some other kind of presumed “authenticity.” One of the first notices reads, “We cannot censure at present, as amply or as strongly as we desire to do, that strange disorder of the mind or the eyes which continues to rage with unabated absurdity among a class of juvenile artists who style themselves ‘P.R.B.,’ which being interpreted means Pre-Raphael Brethren. Their faith seems to consist in an absolute contempt for perspective and the known laws of light and shade, an aversion to beauty in every shape, and a singular devotion to the minute accidents of their subjects, including, or rather seeking out, every excess of sharpness and deformity.” The Times, Saturday, May 3, 1851, p. 8, Issue 20792: “Exhibition of the Royal Academy. (Private View.), First Notice.”

[19] [81] Mike Wallace, “Interview with Salvador Dalí” on The Mike Wallace Interview (Television transcript, interview with Salvador Dalí, April 19, 1958). Available at http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/multimedia/video/2008/wallace/Dalí_salvador_t.html [82]  [November 10, 2015].