Dali: The Halsman Photographs

Philippe Halsman, a long time friend of Salvador Dali, sees Dali as the quintessential surrealist who "wants to startle and shock with every one of his actions." Halsman's photographs of Dali, taken in the fifties and I early sixties, bespeak his understanding and appreciation of Dali s irrational and quixotic genius.

The ten 11 x 14 photographs in this exhibit teem with contemporary images that jolt the viewer out of lassitude into a whirling spire of unacknowledged emotions. Each photo reflects Dali's belief that surrealism requires an ability to explore and master the irrational.

In all but two of the photographs, Dali's masterful moustache and electric eyes set the tone and transport the viewer into a nether land that is as fascinating as it is disconcerting. Few can view these pieces dispassionately; they constitute an irresistible invitation to leave mundane concerns and look at the world from a new vantage point.

"Dali Skull" is but one of the arresting compositions included in this display. It stands out due not only to its use of life and death imagery, but also because of its masterful employment of optical illusion.

Halsman's masterful use of perspective and juxtaposition are evident in each of the photos. Like Dali, Halsman is sure handed and has a clear sense of purpose.