Preview: New Disney Exhibit Opens at The Dali Museum

Warhol, Picasso, Escher and Da Vinci have all graced the halls of the Salvador Dali Museum. Now, one of Dali's greatest and most unlikely artistic partners makes his way to the house of surreal, Walt Disney.

The multimedia exhibit details how the Spanish Surrealist and American Animator came form their artistic alliance. Architects of Imagination features rare archival film, photographs and audio. Disney had long admired the work of Dali. It was after reading Dali's fantastical autobiography, My Secret Life, that he sent Dali a note inquring about a collaboration between the two. In 1945, at Jack Warner's House, Dali and Disney officially met after a long correspondence. What came of that meeting was the enchanting, subversive animated film, Destino. The two never finished it. It wasn't until Disney's nephew, Roy, got a hold of the unfinished project that Destino came into full form. 

The two innovators influence on one another cannot be overstated. After their collaboration, Dali's curiosity about mathematics and science grew, which came to define the latter part of Dali's prolific career. Disney, a long appreciator of European art, began to implement surrealism more feverishly into his films. The animated classics Cinderella and Alice in Wonderland were two of the films by Disney after his work on Destino

"Through their dedicated work, artistic visions, and ingenious self-promotion, their names are forever fused with their art in our collective imagination. We wake in the world they dreamed for us," said Dali Museum Executive Director, Dr. Hank Hine.

The exhibit features illustrations by both Dali and Disney. Visitors will get to see the early works from Disney from as far back as high school when he was still an aspiring commercial artist. Striking sketches of Pinnochio, Jiminy Cricket, Snow White and other beloved characters line the sky blue walls. Clips of Fantasia, Snow White, Spellbound and Steamboat Willie flash in each section of the exhibit. 

Each time The Dali introduces a new exhibit they give visitors an opportunity to experience the art in a wholly unique way. The Disney exhibit introduces an immersive virtual reality experience. There will be three multi-sensory  Oculus Rift stations that will let visitors travel inside Dali's 1935 painting, Archeological Reminiscence of Millet's "Angelus" (featured below). This 360 experience will have you climbing the broken, anthropomorphic towers from the painting. Visitors will find themselves awestruck as they gaze at the sand and stars so meticulously designed by Dali. You may even have join a pack of elephants as only the surreal artist could have imagined them. 

"Dalí was always exploring new ways to express his art. We are proud to give our visitors the opportunity to experience and appreciate art in new ways; advancements in virtual reality allow us to provide an almost tangible view," said Dali Museum Marketing Director, Kathy Grief. 

Visitors can enjoy a full audio tour of the new Disney exhibit, narrated by Sigourney Weaver, as well the Dali's permanent collection. 

The exhibit opens to the public on Saturday, January 23. It will be on display at the Dali through June 12. The Dali Museum is located at 1 Dali Boulevard. 


All Disney Artwork © Disney Enterprises Inc. 

Written by Brian Bailey

Brian Bailey is the founder and editor of I Love the Burg and That's So Tampa. In addition to regular contributions to each blog, he's been featured as a commentator to Bay New 9, The Tampa Tribune, The Tampa Bay Times, The Tampa Bay Business Journal and The Business Observer as well as national outlets including The Huffington Post and The Wall Street Journal. Bailey also serves as the CEO of, a Tampa Bay-based digital agency.