Salvador Dali exhibit opening Friday at Shawnee's Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art
SHAWNEE — The Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art opens the exhibit "Salvador Dali’s Stairway to Heaven: Illustrations for Les Chants de Maldoror and the Divine Comedy" Friday.
The exhibition was organized by the Park West Museum in Michigan, according to a news release.
A 19th-century French poetic novel "Les Chants de Maldoror" was a favorite among the Surrealist artists, many of whom found beauty in art and literature devoted to the pursuit of the irrational and the unorthodox. Unfolding in non-linear fashion, "Les Chants de Maldoror" describes the violent and perverse character of a despicable protagonist who has renounced God, humanity and conventional morality.
Dante's "Divine Comedy" is regarded as one of the most important works in the history of Italian literature. Also a poetic narrative, "The Divine Comedy" is told sequentially, taking its readers along with Dante on a journey through Hell (Inferno), Purgatory and Paradise. Allegorically, it is often interpreted as representing the trajectory of the soul towards God.
When Dali illustrated "Les Chants de Maldoror" in the early 1930s, he identified as a Surrealist. By the time Dali's illustrations for "The Divine Comedy" were published in 1960, Dali had renounced Surrealism and become a born-again Catholic.
Taken together, this exhibition brings the viewer from depravity to God through these texts and illustrations, according to the news release.
The exhibition is brought to the museum in part by the Park West Museum, Oklahoma Arts Council, Allied Arts, Avedis Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, and the Mr. and Mrs. R. J. Wissinger Memorial Trust.
In order to celebrate the Shawnee community, the museum is hosting the Oklahoma Baptist University Bison Brigade on the museum lawn at 5:45 p.m. Sept. 18. People can bring blankets or lawn chairs and enjoy music outside in a socially distanced manner.
The museum will be open and free of charge from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Sept. 18 as part of this community celebration. The museum is limited to 10 people in the galleries at a time due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art is located on the OBU Green campus, 1900 W MacArthur St. in Shawnee. The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors age 65 or older, $3 for students and children ages 6 to 17, and free for children age 5 and younger. Visit www.mgmoa.org for more information.