Dalí Museum


Peacock chillin’ at the Jungle Prada site.

Reading this week:

  • Dereliction of Duty by H.R. McMaster
  • The Sex Factor: How Women Made the West Rich by Victoria Bateman
  • It’s Our Turn to Eat by Michela Wrong
  • Moonraker by Ian Fleming

We have a couple of factors at play here. The most important one is that I am going on a vacation soon and need to squeeze out a few weeks of content to hold me over until I can bring all of my zero readers fantastic pictures of my travels. So now I shall write about a lovely morning I had after taking some aunt and uncle to the airport. On the way to the airport we passed the Dalí Museum, and they suggested I go. I originally heard “Dolly Museum,” and I was confused, but forged ahead nonetheless.


But first! I went to go see the Jungle Prada Site. I went to go see it because I like to tally up places that I have been on Atlas Obscura, and also I had to kill like an hour before the museum opened. The flight was early. As you can read on the sign in the picture above, the Prada site is the landing spot of Panfilo de Narvaez, who I guess has claim to launching the first exploration by white man of the North American continent. He did this, in conquistador fashion, by immediately ransacking the village where he landed (inhabited by the Tocobaga) and then setting off in search of gold. Along the way he mutilated the chief of the Tocobaga, killed the chief’s mother and fed her to his dogs, and tried to kill the neighboring Apalachee tribe, before being killed by the Apalachee and having only four of his men escape on rafts to Mexico. Other than that it is a very lovely spot.


I tried to be artsy in the framing of this photo.

The museum is not huge and frankly I spent more than I anticipated. Parking was $10 and admission for military (they didn’t specify if it was veteran or not so I got it) was $23 and then (this is more my own fault) I spent like $20 in the gift shop. But it was pretty great! The site is gorgeous, as you can see in the photo above. You enter the museum and then have to go up to the third floor to see the galleries. They do this because they are worried about flooding. The previous museum was on the first floor of a warehouse which, in Florida, makes it in a flood zone, so now they have truly elevated the artform.

They have two main exhibits, which are a large main gallery with Dalí’s works, and then another gallery which I think rotates. At this time it was an exhibit of French surrealists, which included some works by Dalí. I got to the museum at 10:00 and it was fairly empty for a bit though by the time I left an hour later it had filled up considerably. I guess people want to go out and see things the day after Christmas (when I went). The main gallery is arranged chronologically. I walked through backwards, so I saw his later stuff first. I liked it better than his earlier work, and I bet I am not unique in that. My favorite was “El torero alucinógeno.” It is one of his masterworks (or at least it is very big) and has all sorts of symbolism and meaning I guess. I bought a print in the gift shop. Mostly I liked the colors.


Sorry it’s a crap picture.


A detail from the picture.

I might have to reassess my art museum strategy. In the past I was very happy to go alone and just judge the art for myself. But now it all feels a little silly to see it without context. And I tried but I was too impatient to walk through with the tour guide today. I gotta get more art friends and then hopefully they’ll either tolerate me dragging them to art museums and asking for explanations and/or they’ll be nice enough to invite me along when they go. But the museum was very nice and it was remarkable to see the craftsmanship of these things up close. I don’t know if you know this but Dalí was like, a really good painter. If you’re in town I recommend it. But go with a crowd to have some company and then also to spread out the cost of parking. And if you absolutely hate the art it’s still Florida outside and that is pretty gorgeous in and of itself: