A few weeks back, this guy walks into a new New York gallery, snatches a Dali off the wall, puts it into a shopping bag and walks out in full view of cameras. A few weeks letter, the gallery gets an e-mail from someone in Europe saying that the painting is on its way back to the gallery. Indeed, the painting arrived, neatly packed and unscathed. That it was returned, in my view, is a bit of an insult.
Strange, but given that the painting in question is a Dali original, the original Surrealist, whose paintings are bizarre, yet soothingly familiar to us all, strange is what we would expect and want. Ok, I’m speaking for myself, but when I see some of his paintings, I think – that’s it, that captures what I feel inside. Not all of his paintings resonate with me. The stolen work in question, Cartel des Don Juan Tenorio is surely one of his lesser works that could have been by Panbanisha, the painting bonobo. There’s speculation that the painting didn’t sell because of all the news surrounding the theft; that no one in their right mind would purchase a recently lifted Dali. But I don’t think that’s the reason. I think the reason no art dealer bought the painting was that it sucks. It does. The work is not up to the Dali standard. People want the melting clocks, or something colorfully bizarre. Cartel des Don Juan Tenorio is neither colorful nor bizarre; it’s just boring. It looks like something Cro-Magnon man might have carved onto a cave wall with the blood of a man he had just clubbed. It’s that bad.