Dali and SpongeBob: Surreal and Unreal

Continuing our mini-theme of Summer art events in New York, two you can’t afford to miss are the Museum of Modern Art’s Dali: Painting and Film and Steve Powers’ Waterboard Thrill Ride.

One is surreal and the other unreal (or is it?). Can you guess which? The MoMA exhibition is a survey of Dali’s romp through cinema, featuring paintings, sketches, and original scripts, as well as large screen projections of his most bizarre imaginings, including the torturous scene from “Un Chien Andalou” and the nightmarish fantasies in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Spellbound.” For Powers’ spectacle, he recreated a Guantanamo Bay-style waterboarding torture scene using robots in New York’s Coney Island. (The piece will soon move to the Park Avenue Armory for the Democracy in America exhibition). At the “Waterboard Thrill Ride,” visitors are charged a dollar to look through a
barred window while a hooded robot pours water into the face of an
orange jumpsuit-wearing robot. Outside, a sign shows SpongeBob (isn’t he supposed to be gay?) SquarePants saying “It don’t GITMO better!” See a video here.

About Steven Heller

Steven Heller is the co-chair of the SVA MFA Designer /Designer as Author + Entrepreneur program, writes a weekly column for The Atlantic online and is the "Visuals" Columnist for the New York Times Book Review. He is also the author of over 160 books on design and visual culture. And he is the 2011 recipient of the Smithsonian National Design Award.

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