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Dalis world full of odd twists
Flamboyant painters exhibit at High offers images spiritual and obscene
Fifty Abstract Paintings Which as Seen From Two Yards Change Into Three Lenins Masquerading as Chinese and as Seen from Six Yards Appear as the Head of a Royal Bengal Tiger by Salvador Dali.

Dali: The Late Work
What: Exhibit of work from the last 40 years of Salvador Dalis career
When: 2 p.m. Saturday at the Rich Theatre; So Real... Surreal Soiree, 8 p.m. to midnight Saturday; exhibit, Saturday-Jan. 9, 2011
Where: High Museum of Art, 1288 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta.

ATLANTASalvador Dali was a weirdo. That much is clear.

You remember Dali, right? The wildly mustached painter who so skillfully painted melting clocks in "The Persistence of Memory?"

I remember that painting from art history class, and those two things the mustache and the melting clocks were all I knew about the artist until I recently attended a preview of "Dali: The Late Work," an exhibit at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, on display Saturday through Jan. 9.

The exhibit includes work from the last 40 years of Dalis career.

Many pieces in the exhibit are a departure from what you might expect from Dali.

From "Ruby Lips Brooch," a jewelry piece with ruby-encrusted lips and pearls for teeth, to a holographic image of rock star Alice Cooper, "The Late Work" shows that Dali was skilled in a variety of media, and that his art did not fit neatly into any category but the big box of surrealism.

The crazy-eyed Dali must have been an interesting man to know, and the exhibit will give viewers a window into his wacky world.

You can even buy a bendable mustache from the museum gift shop to get the full effect.

Dali kissed cheeks with Andy Warhol and hung with his beautiful crowd, painted with rhinoceros horns and octopi, and went around being generally strange.

There are many fun, sometimes inexplicable pieces, but "The Late Work" is, overall, a showcase of Dalis odd mixture of Christianity and mysticism.

Some works "Christ of Saint John of the Cross," for example are a beautiful, wide window into Dalis appreciation of Christ.

Dali painted Christ on the cross, but in his glorified body, with no crown of thorns or nails. He based his work on drawings by Saint John of the Cross, a 16th century writer and Christian reformist.

Other works, including "Santiago El Grande" and "Assumpta Corpuscularia Lapislazulina," also contain Christian symbolism, although theyre not as straightforward.

And then there are a whole lot of works that are distinctly un-Christian a few nudes; one work that contains molds of body parts Id rather not mention; several works that are degrading to women in disgusting ways; and many that are just plain sick.

It cannot be argued that Dali was brilliant and talented beyond many artists grasp.

But I cant recommend this exhibit, because like some artists of his time (and ours), Dali wanted no limits on his creativity, or freedom of expression, and the resulting works arent Christian-like at all.

The idea of "no limits" is in itself un-Christian. Many of Dalis works fly in the face of Jesus teachings.

Though he claimed to be a Christian, and its certainly not up to me to determine whether he was, the disgusting pieces that hang in the same gallery with the one of my savior show another kind of fruit.

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