Earlier this week I had a rather enjoyable experience at PAFA’s Wednesday Art-at-Lunch event, at which Prof. Jonathan Wallis of Moore College of Art spoke about Salvador Dalí’s under treated post-surrealist work. In particular, Wallis focused on one of Dalí’s dramatic and expectedly cryptic religious paintings, The Ecumenical Council, 1960. This was a fascinating talk in which Wallis looked very closely at the minute details of Dalí’s painting, and interpreting the painting in much the same way as Dalí conceived his work — the “paranoiac-critical method” — opened up a number of interpretive avenues that were collectively suggestive of the workings of Dali’s mind (as well as the workings of a passionate and intellectually inventive art historian’s mind). The contagious energy with which Wallis shared his discoveries gave a clear example of the sense of adventure that art history can offer. Keep an eye out for Wallis’ upcoming book on Dalí’s late work.
I was also pleased to see that this fall’s lecture series at PAFA seems to be somewhat of a showcase for the fruits of Tyler. Wallis is a Tyler alum (2004 Ph.D.), as was the previous week’s speaker, Roxana Pérez-Méndez (2002 MFA), whose work had been on view at PAFA since last May. Even if you missed her installation, which just came down last week, or Wallis’ talk on Dalí, PAFA’s Art-at-Lunch lecture series should still be a destination for Tyler folks. Coming up on Nov. 3 is my own art historical talk on African American sculpture at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition, and on tap for next week (Oct. 6) are Roberta Fallon and Libby Rosof, founders of the heavily consulted artblog (http://THEartblog.org), and no strangers to Tyler. Check out PAFA’s fall lineup for yourself at http://www.pafa.org/aal. Free for everyone. Grab a crêpe and hop on the Broad Street Line for a one-hour mid-week, mid-day respite at the confluence of two rivers.