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Dali Museum hosts Jan. 11 grand opening
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The grand opening of a new Dali Museum is Jan. 11.
ST. PETERSBURG - All eyes will be on St. Petersburg, Florida with the grand opening of a new Dali Museum set for Jan. 11.

The public is invited to view a surreal procession departing from the current Dali museum, 1000 Third St. S., at 9:30 a.m. and concluding at the new museum, located eight blocks north at One Dalí Blvd.

The procession will include VIP guests and dignitaries, entertainers, models and musicians, plus the Krewe of the Knights of Sant’ Yago and a Dalí look alike in a horse and carriage.

The entertainment continues at the new Dalí Museum, starting with a 30-second Horn Fanfare by the Florida Orchestra Brass Quintet.

A dedication program and a ribbon cutting ceremony led by the King and Queen of Spain’s youngest daughter, S.A.R. la Infanta Cristina, Duchess of Palma de Mallorca, begins at 11 a.m. The ceremony will conclude at noon and mark the beginning of a new era for the Dalí. The public is invited to enjoy the entertainment and festivities until 3 p.m.

Timed tickets to visit the museum after the opening ceremony are available for sale online on a limited basis. Visit www.t­hedal­i.org for tickets.

Visitors will find complimentary coffee and Danishes in the morning and then hot cocoa after the ceremony. The museum’s new Café Gala also will be open on Jan. 11.

About the new Dalí

The new Dalí is double the size of the current museum - 7,000 square feet to 15,000 square feet. Salvador Dalí’s works of art will finally have a home designed specifically for this collection.

The new Dalí Museum is also built to protect the priceless art collection. The design has already attracted the world’s attention and is listed as “one of the top buildings you have to see before you die” in AOL Travel News.  

The museum’s exterior is itself a work of art, featuring more than 900 triangular-shaped glass panels. This geodesic glass structure – nicknamed the “Glass Enigma” – is the only structure of its kind in North America and is a 21st century expression of Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome as utilized in Dalí’s Teatro Museo in Figueres, Spain.

No two glass panels are identical, providing a truly unique view of St. Petersburg’s picturesque waterfront. The Helical Staircase – a spiral that ascends to the third floor galleries – is the main architectural focus of the interior. An energetic form created with mathematical precision and resembling a strand of DNA, Dalí recognized the helix as evidence of the divine in nature.

Yann Weymouth, AIA, senior vice president and design director for HOK, conceived the museum’s architectural design. It was enlivened with a geodesic oculum by Novum Structures, which engineered and installed the free-form glass exterior. 

Most importantly, the new museum will allow for more of Dalí’s work to be on display than ever before and will feature amenities including a café, theater, classroom and student gallery. 

The museum houses the largest collection of Dalí's work outside of Spain - 2140 pieces of Dalí's work, 96 oil paintings and eight master works (measuring over 5 feet).

The core collection was donated by Cleveland industrialist, A. Reynolds Morse and his wife Eleanor. It represents the culmination of a 45-year friendship between the Morses and Dalí and his wife, Gala. The Museum opened on March 7, 1982.

Debut Avant-Garden

When the new $36 million Dalí Museum opens on Jan. 11, visitors will be welcomed at the entrance by a visionary Avant-Garden created in the true spirit of the Spanish surrealist Salvador Dali.  The museum itself will be a work of art reflective of Dalí's unique combination of classical and fantastic elements. This same influence can be seen in the Avant-Garden, which combines organic elements of earth and water into a unique environment of learning and reflection.

Visitors to the museum will discover a garden that marries math, science and art in geometric illustrations. Forming the Avant Garden are three distinct features: a misty grotto, a hedge labyrinth, and a patio with stone pavers demonstrating the harmonious proportions of the golden rectangle.

The rocks, which draw out the garden design, are local Florida limestone from a quarry at Lake Okeechobee. They reference Dali’s great love for the rock formations of his native Cadaques - rocks which he said embody the principle of metamorphosis. Such formations find their way into his paintings.

The grotto area of the Avant-Garden at the entry introduces visitors to the subtropical flora of Florida and a place of shade, plants and water. It is a passageway from the ordinary world to the surreal world inside the Dali Museum. To enter the museum, one must cross a bridge, which parts the waters of the grotto pond. Bordering the pond, moss, bromeliads and orchids grow vertically on a wall where water trickles into the pond, and mists and breezes offer a cooling retreat.

Salvador Dalí was fascinated by the way mathematics can reveal a hidden order in the world. The golden rectangle was first described by the ancient Greek mathematician Euclid in the third century BC. The two sides of the rectangle have a ratio of 1: 1.609009 or phi. In the Avant-Garden, the golden rectangle can be found in a 20-by-32-foot patio area defined by 12-inch square pavers in different earth tones.  A unique feature of the golden rectangle is that when a square section is removed, the remainder is also a golden rectangle.  This is demonstrated in the five different colors of pavers, each smaller square cut from the larger rectangle.  

Just southeast of the golden rectangle is a gate between two rocks, which is the entrance to the labyrinth. The Dali Museum labyrinth makes nature correspond to an abstraction. Here, a path of crushed limestone leads visitors through a course of hedges which curve and angle abruptly until reaching the center.  The center is marked by the tallest Cypress tree on the grounds, a symbol of welcoming. The labyrinth’s design is derived from the labyrinth at Chartres Cathedral. There are no wrong turns in a labyrinth; one only has to persevere to reach the goal.

The Dalí Museum is open to the public 10 a.m. to 5:50 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday; and noon to 5:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets will be available online, walk-up and for Dalí Members.

Admission price ranges from $7 to $21. Admission at the old museum ranged from $5 to $17. The garden is free.

For more information, call 727-823-3767, 1-800-442-DALI (3254) or visit www.t­hedal­i.org.
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