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The Daily Tar Heel

From MoMa to Ackland, Dalí makes a debut in Chapel Hill

The Ackland Art Museum is showcasing one of Salvador Dalí’s surrealist masterpieces Jan. 11 through March 10. This special installation includes his painting entitled "Masochistic Instrument" and a separate print displayed as "Untitled".

Dalí, a famous Spanish artist, was known for the striking and bizarre images that were prominent throughout his lifetime of artwork. His expansive portfolio spreads across multiple mediums including film, sculpture and photography in addition to his paintings and drawings. 

Peter Nisbet, the deputy director for curatorial affairs at the Ackland, said that the painting was generously lent from the personal art collection of UNC graduate Julian Robertson. The accompanying "Untitled" is a recent addition to the Ackland’s collection. 

In the late 1920s and 1930s, Salvador Dalí created some of his most famous surrealist pieces including "The Persistence of Memory" (1931, The Museum of Modern Art, New York) and "The Burning Giraffe" (1937, The Kunstmuseum Basel, Switzerland). The "Masochistic Instrument" is from this same period and is evocative of the Surrealism Period throughout the 1930s. 

“Salvador Dalí is such an iconic artist, so I think it’s amazing that the Ackland has this piece on display,” Paige Watson, a UNC sophomore viewing the installation, said. “Having this painting is a huge deal because I’ve seen his work in places like the MoMA (Museum of Modern Art), so it’s cool to have his work in Chapel Hill.”  

Dalí’s special installation is coming right after the museum’s renovation of its permanent collection that began in early December 2018. This re-imagining now includes a new layout of the building, as well as an increase in pieces of modern art. 

Nisbet said that the museum has recently expanded its Asian and African art collections, both traditional and modern, and its post-1950 global art collection. This is all part of an effort to display a variety of art in the museum and to target the local college student community.

“I appreciate the Ackland’s dedication to bringing in new, modern art like this Dalí (painting),” Maggie Pollard, a UNC sophomore viewing the installation, said. “It’s hard as a student to find an opportunity to see art as famous as this, and I love how the Ackland is making it so accessible for students.”

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