One of the most intriguing and remembered exhibitions at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York City was without a doubt Salvador Dali’s bizarre, surrealist funhouse, Dream of Venus. Those who were at the scene in 1939 and dared to enter Dali’s interactive, artistic spectacle, would have had to pass under a pair of woman’s spread-apart legs and purchase their tickets at a giant fish head.
This avant-garde ”girlie-show” featured displays of naked ladies swimming in water tanks while some were perhaps milking a wounded cow or typing on a floating typewriter. Inside, visitors found live lobsters sizzling on a hot bed of coals, another naked woman laying in a giant bed, surrounded by red satin, flowers and leaves, and a rubber female figure painted as a piano.
Surprisingly, the incredible exhibition was merely an abridged, censored version of Dali’s original vision. The artist was livid when his main sponsors would not allow him to (for example) blow up giraffes or put a fish head on a woman’s body. In an outcry against the censorship , Dali wrote the “Declaration of the Independence of the Imagination and of the Rights of Man to His Own Madness” outlining his adamant support for artistic freedom. Exploding giraffes? Come on, what could be wrong with that?
Bummed you missed out on this ridiculousness? If so, don’t fret, the Absurdity of Dali and the 1939′s World Fair will return for one night on June 3rd at the McKittrick Hotel. In the meantime take a peak at the bizarre images and video from the Dream of Venus exhibition.