The Dali Museum: A Surreal Experience

Dali photo by Philippe Halsman

“Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision.” ~Salvador Dali

My trip to Florida earlier this month just so happened to coincide with the opening of the new Salvador Dali Museum in downtown St. Petersburg. I visited the old museum last year when I was in town to complete my internship, but I just couldn’t resist to be part of the first wave of people to experience the new museum.

The $36 Million museum took four years to be completed and officially opened January 11th (1/11/2011). It is the largest collection of the artist’s work outside of Spain, with 96 oil paintings on display, and over 2,000 other pieces of his work.

The view of the museum

The building itself is something to stop and stare at as you make your way down the Baywalk downtown. Its walls are made of 18-inch-thick concrete to withstand even a category 5 hurricane (something rather crucial for a Florida museum). The 75 foot-high triangular glass dome called “The Glass Enigma” is a spectacular sight to see, made up of 1,062 panels. As you walk up the large spiral staircase to the galleries, you can peer out the glass dome for a beautiful view of Tampa Bay. Inside includes a library, theatre, gift shop, meeting rooms and the Cafe Gala named after Dali’s wife. The grounds around the museum have even been outfitted with huge rocks that were brought in all the way from Cadaques, Spain where Dali grew up.

Looking down at the spiral staircase

If any art lovers out there ever find themselves visiting the Tampa Bay area, I would highly recommend stopping into the museum.

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