Walt Disney and Salvador Dali never completed their animated short film “Destino,” but the friendship they formed working on it in the 1940s lasted the rest of their lives.
That intersection between two of the 20th century’s most innovative and influential artists is explored in the new “Disney and Dali: Architects of the Imagination” exhibit at the Dali Museum in downtown St. Petersburg, on Florida’s tourist-favorite gulf coast, co-organized by the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco.
“We’ve talked about highlighting these two artists for some time to showcase their collaboration on ‘Destino,’ their friendship and their collective pioneering spirit of imagination,” says the Dali Museum’s marketing director, Kathy Greif. “It took the right partners and the right timing and now we have an incredible show.”
The multimedia exhibit includes paintings, story sketches, archival film, photographs and clips of the surreal “Destino,” eventually completed and released in 2003, almost 60 years after it was started. The free guided audio tour is narrated by Sigourney Weaver.
If that’s not enough of a look inside the minds of these “creatures of creativity,” as Grief calls them, there’s also a virtual reality component to the exhibit. “Dream of Dali” lets visitor go inside the artist’s 1935 painting “Archaeological Reminiscence of Millet’s Angelus.” As for what exactly that means, well, you’ll just have to check it out for yourself. “Until you experience virtual reality you can’t really even understand it,” Greif says. “[It] may have been around for a number of years, but the technology is so improved. It reminds me of the first time I went snorkeling, and what I can only imagine outer space would be like — it’s a physically different feeling for your body, and in the case of ‘Dreams of Dali,’ also for your soul — it’s breathtaking.”
In its permanent collection the Dali Museum contains more than 2,000 works from Dali, housed in a building that’s partly a glass “bubble” stretching up 75 feet. The “Disney and Dali” exhibit is open through June 12.