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Skying Artwork in a National Museum: Salvador Dali
by Linda Lane
2008-02-21 09:24:30
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Interesting that searching I am unable to find anything on the Web about 'Skying Artwork'. What is "to sky artwork"? It is the practice, infringing on moral copyright, of hanging or displaying artwork in such a way that it can not be easily seen.

For example, when I was at a National Museum in Washington D.C. to attend Carter's presidential inauguration in 1976, I walked into a room, and for some reason I stayed in the room roaming around for a while - there was a large triangular shaped display counter with someone working there. Chatting lightly with the person there, I walked to the far end of the counter. Imagine my surprise when I looked up to see a huge Salvador Dali painting of Christ during the last supper with a symbolic image of God (or Christ risen) transparent above the last supper scene.

The person working there explained to me that the museum's director did not like Dali, so he had skyed Dali's expensive, fabulous and famous work so that no one would see it hanging above the display counter, high on the wall, on back end of an otherwise dead end hallway.

In the United States the Visual Rights Act of 1990 may cover some of the central issues of moral copyrights that would not justify the museum director's actions - certainly Dali did not paint this work to cleverly *not* be displayed. But in Europe there may be more broad repercussions and remedies to a public funded entity such as a museum purposely hiding artworks which the museum director only personally finds distasteful or that he or she does not enjoy.

If Dali did in fact paint paintings so hideous that hiding them could be considered justifiable, and such was his intention, how would we ever know?

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Asa2008-02-21 09:27:35
What a strange thing to do!

Has anybody else ever spotted 'Skying Artwork'?

Emanuel Paparella2008-02-21 09:50:18
If you like Dali, there is a remedy. Come to St. Petergburg, Florida and there you will find a whole musueum dedicated to Dali's paintings all prominently displayed and none of them hidden. Come to think of it you have resurrected the classical aesthetic conundrum: if there were no eyes beholding those paintings of Dali would they still be beatiful, and vice versa, if barbarism returned to the West and Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel were to be auctioned off to buy hamburgers and spear parts for rockets and missiles, would anybody object or miss it?

Sand2008-02-21 13:01:04
Although the innovation of spears propelled by rockets seems a strange diversion of technology, it might have a surprising niche in primitive societies and form a new market for the insatiable arms manufacturers. Nevertheless, a funding of condom distribution throughout the world to save lives might be more in the original spirit of Christianity funded by displaying Michelangelo's painting in a more accessible public venue, an open public museum, rather than skying it in a chapel in Rome.

Emanuel Paparella2008-02-21 15:29:46
Point proven about the current barbarism of the intellect. Thank you. The above comment at the very least hints at the fact proves that the one who proffered it couldn't care less for the artistic treasures of the Renaissance (patronized in large part by the Catholic Church)but could not possibly have seen the Sistine Chapel, for he had he would know that it is a fresco and therefore not transportable to any public museum as he advocates so that condoms could be bought with the proceedings.

Emanuel Paparella2008-02-21 15:33:51
P.S. Not only the Sistine Chapel is not being skyed as the caricaturist and slanderer in question has announced but it is being shown annually to million of visitors coming from all parts of the world. Here again, had the ax grinder been there he would have seen that with his own eyes.

Sand2008-02-21 18:04:41
I'm reasonably sure that a large well financed public museum could solve the problem of the transport of the possibility arose. When I passed through the chapel I didn't see a million people but I probably didn't wait around long enough. It seems to me far more barbaric not to secure funds to aid suffering people if the possibility arose, but perhaps my value system differs from yours.

Emanuel Paparella2008-02-21 22:06:17
Surely those views have nothing to do with an ax to grind are motivated by a feeling of justice and are wholly fair and objective toward art, Michelangelo, the Catholic Church and distributive justice. Irony intended!

P.S. The chapel does not accomodate a million people. Perhaps a thousand at a time. Last time I was there it was full and one could see on the faces that they came from all parts of the world. That is encouraging because when that chapel remains empty barbarism will have returned. Perhaps you dreamt about or the internal voices told you so?

Sand2008-02-22 04:02:48
Your petrified mind is horrified at any change in the world which is why it cowers in the past barricaded by what you conceive of as intellectual icons but are actually mentally castrated idols totally ignorant of the astounding new understanding of the universe. To present the Michelangelo in a new venue certainly would not destroy it nor destroy its intrinsic value but make it available to many more people who could appreciate its interesting viewpoint and technical skill. But I agree it probably is impossible to move it and the funds gained would probably be utilized in a manner not consistent with early admirable Christian values. The move would certainly not increase barbaric values in the world since the mass tortures and murders and starvation and callous treatment that humanity regularly accepts today would be extremely difficult to multiply in today's world which is very much in the barbaric traditions which has accompanied mankind throughout its history and in which the Catholic Church has participated with enthusiasm.

Emanuel Paparella2008-02-23 05:36:02
Is that you or the voices projecting their own shadow speaking? Indeed, the shadow knows!

Sand2008-02-23 06:45:24
This cryptic nonsense about shadows and voices signifying no thought is worn out. I know it is a tremendous effort for you to dredge up something with relevance and meaning from the huge garbage pile of your memory but perhaps something buried under the garble of cliche´s and catchwords can be dragged out to convey that there is a spark of thought inside.

Linda2008-02-23 09:26:32
thank you for your comments

Sand2008-02-23 09:45:50
I appreciate that my bickering with Paparella in areas that move distant to the original intent of the original article but since he dropped the original challenge in his initial comment I could not ignore his obvious opening for a reply.

Insofar as the original "skying" of a piece of art is concerned, it must be noted that most museums of any size possess many more works of art in storage than they have room to openly exhibit on their floors and though the Dali may have significantly more value in the eyes of the visitors than in the eye of the curator I suppose that one must be grateful that it is available at all.

Emanuel Paparella2008-02-23 13:31:46
You are welcome Linda. As mentioned in my first comment, here in Florida we have a whole museum exclusively dedicated to Dali. Not even New York has that, never mind Washington.
On Dali, he too could not help himself but he was not clever by half and therefore channelled his obsessions into creative art.

Sand2008-02-23 13:42:06
Dali was an extremely skilled painter with intriguing obsessions with multiple perceptions of a pattern but many authorities in the field were not impressed with his output. I personally like his work and find his techniques amusing and occasionally outrageous as he was an avid publicity hound in the manner of Andy Warhol.
But the term "not clever by half" is extremely puzzling and ambiguous since it implies he was not clever to some extent and I cannot agree with that.

Emanuel Paparella2008-02-24 05:16:56
F for logic 101. If one says "he was not clever by half," that means exactly what it says, that he was fully clever not clever by half. The sophist, merely to contradict or win an argument or have the last word, takes that statement and turns it on its head. Nevertheless despite his pride in iron-clad logic, he gets an F for introductory logic. Indeed some people cannot help themselves.

Sand2008-02-24 06:24:53
You cannot excuse the misuse of an ambiguous metaphor with contempt. It is bad writing.

Emanuel Paparella2008-02-25 00:50:35
Whatever that may mean!

Sand2008-02-26 09:59:47
This is the definition from the web:
be too clever by half (British)
to be too confident of your own intelligence in a way that annoys other people. At school he had a reputation for arrogance

Therefore the negative you used describes Dali as not confident enough to annoy people.

Any minimal knowledge of Dali's behavior reveals full well that his whole life style annoyed people tremendously so your profound ignorance is again fully revealed.

Linda2008-02-26 10:08:50
Did either of you have a chance to look into the Digital Rights Act? The Freedoms afforded Americans are not always rightly understood as intended by the framers (of the Constitution) but our freedom of speech for example is the freedom to critize the government. Individuals often mistake it to mean the freedom to speak freely under any circumstance but generally that is not something anyone does or even wants. It would be interesting to have a Free Speech for a Day, where for a day one actually could say anything to anyone without fear of repercusions wouldn't it? Who knows what would be said? It is very easy to bait each other and say negative things I believe, but it is much more refined and yes more difficult to find creative, funny or positive things to say without being sappy, or too sweet. Humor is to me the very most difficult form of communication, that coupled with kindness and a view to the future is the most interesting to me personally. A challenge I think.

Sand2008-02-26 10:23:40
Whatever the circumstances I sincerely doubt that confronting misinformation with fact is grounds for condemnation.

Linda2008-02-27 09:26:30
It is an interesting painting too, I believe it brings a kind of modernity to the subject. Transcendental was a word I could not understand - but if someone had shown me this one painting and said this is Trans-cend-ental then I think it would have helped. Modern paintings seem to do that with not only space but with time...

Emanuel L. Paparella2008-02-27 20:54:49
"...the five main types of speech to avoid are lies, divisive speech, harsh and abusive speech, and idle and distracting speech. "

--Doug McGill

(wisely pointed out at the end of one of today's Ovi articles).

There have always been people who have confused freedom of speech with freedom to slander, distort the facts, and peddle one's biased opinion with less than honorable intellectual tactics. Some cannot seem to help themselves and will probably die with such inveterate bad intellectual habits. Fortunately there are laws forbidding that kind of extreme and intolerant behavior. But you are quite right Linda that it does not lead to conviviality or, for that matter, the discovery of truth.

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