Salvador Dali and More at UNLV’s Barrick Museum

The Marjorie Barrick Museum at UNLV is celebrating its 50th anniversary with three cool new exhibits. Since I walk past it all the time and it’s free, I figured I should check them out. The most interesting one to me is the collection of Salvador Dali illustrations of classic literature.

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I knew right away I’d like this room! Tangential anecdote: back in my 2nd or 3rd year teaching, I thought it would be funny to put a sign with this quote over my classroom door. My principal disagreed and made me take it down.

The illustrations are to each volume of Dante’s Divine Comedy, as well as Boccaccio’s Decameron. Each display gets turned to new pages twice weekly, so I suppose I’ll drop back in each time I’m on campus the rest of this semester. Go a minute out of my way to see more original Dali work up close? Yes, please.

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I saw that this exhibit was accompanied by film screenings that looked good, but which had already passed. Luckily, the old Inferno film is readily available on YouTube. Check out the terrifying climactic scene starting around 1:01:45!

 

Another room has a display of ancient ceremonial masks from around the world. Very intriguing stuff. The most important aspect of such a collection for me is a connection to the Book of Mormon. Some scholars have suggested that in Alma 5:14, when Alma promotes Christian discipleship by asking, “Have ye received his image in your countenances?” he’s referring to the practice of actually wearing masks representing various gods during Mesoamerican religious rituals, and adopting that to relate to his audience. We might read his rhetorical question with an emphasis on the word his.

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This exhibit was curated by one of our English department professors; it’s great to see the humanities sticking together, quite literally in the shadow of the gigantic new hospitality department building being erected next door. *sigh*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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