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Surrealist master Salvador Dalí is known for his striking and sometimes bizarre works of art. Now, imagine that brought to life in a garden setting. That’s what Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is planning to do with their new Dalí-themed exhibit, Salvador Dalí: Gardens of the Mind.
The inspiration came from a series of botanical works that Dalí started creating in 1968 called FlorDalí. He continued this trend into the ’80s with fruits and other flowers dominating his pieces. “Once we found the Flori Dalí works,” Jennifer Rominiecki, President and CEO of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, told Departures. “We knew we needed to do an exhibition centered around them.”
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While the lithographic series FlorDalí will be on display along with American photographer Clyde Butcher’s series Visions of Dalí’s Spain, artifacts and photos from the artist’s life, what sets this exhibition apart is the gardens-wide, immersive experience. Horticultural displays inspired by Dalí will be on view throughout the Gardens.
Dalí created works that showed his interpretation of surreal flowers. For example, a rose sprouts butterfly wings instead of leaves, and a dahlia transforms into a unicorn-like animal. It’s these visions that will come to life for visitors through both the series and plant creations. “Selby Gardens specializes in epiphytes, or air plants, which tend to be sculptural, charismatic plants,” said Rominiecki. “We think Dalí himself would have enjoyed the surreal and dynamic plants in our collections and would have been inspired by them.”
This isn’t the first time the Gardens have blended art and nature. Previous exhibits included Marc Chagall, Flowers, and the French Riviera: The Color of Dreams; Warhol: Flowers in the Factory; and Gauguin: Voyage to Paradise.
“When we invite guests to the gardens to experience one of our immersive art and horticulture exhibitions, we hope that they’ll see the Gardens and nature in a new light,” said Rominiecki. “Experiencing our living plant collections as part of a unique visitor experience breathes life into both our collections and how visitors engage with them.”
Salvador Dalí: Gardens of the Mind will be on view exclusively at Selby Gardens from February 9 through June 30, 2020. Selby Gardens will also offer Dalí-themed lectures, performances, family programs, special tours, school curricula, and additional programs that complement the exhibition.