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Baby Dali. by Robert Hughes. Time, 7/4/94, Vol. 144 Issue 1, p68, 3p, 3c, 1bw HTML Full Text
Was any painter a worse embarrassment than Salvador Dali? Not even Andy Warhol. Long before his physical death in 1989, old Avida Dollars -- Andre Breton's anagram of his name -- had collapsed into wretched exhibitionism. Genius, Shocker, Lip-Topiarist: though he once turned down an American businessman's proposal to open a string of what would be called Dalicatessens, there was little else he refused to endorse, from chocolates to perfumes. He was surrounded by fakes and crooks and married to one of the greediest harpies in Europe: Gala, who made him the indentured servant of his lost talent even as he treated her as his muse. Nevertheless, Dali was an important artist for about 10 years, starting in the late 1920s. Nothing can take that away from him. Other Surrealists -- especially Max Ernst and Dali's fellow Catalan Joan Miro -- were greater magicians; but Dali's sharp, glaring, enameled visions of death, sexual failure and deliquescence, of displaced religious mania and creepy organic delight, left an ineradicable mark on our century when it, and he, were young. Dali turned ``retrograde'' technique -- the kind of dazzlingly detailed illusionism that made irreality concrete, as in The First Days of Spring, 1929 -- toward subversive ends. His soft watches will never cease to tick, not as long as the world has adolescent dandies and boy rebels in it. . .