Alice in Wonderland exhibit at Tate Liverpool

Want to see a lot of the great Alice art all in one place, from Carroll’s drawings to Dalí? Art and Illustrations of Alice make up a new exhibit at the Tate Liverpool, called Alice in Wonderland. Marina Warner has a preview of it in The Guardian:

It’s perhaps surprising that an art gallery, rather than a library, is holding a huge survey exhibition about Alice, but then Carroll’s creation has been and still is the inspiration of artists, photographers, theatrical designers, animators, film-makers. The new Tate Liverpool show explores this territory, from the author’s own rarely seen manuscript illustrations and marvellously evocative biographical materials (Carroll’s perceptive and often lyrical photographs, works of art by his pre-Raphaelite friends) to the Surrealists, for whom Alice became a cherished myth. The Surrealist movement is represented by some of the most potent works in the exhibition: Salvador Dalí’s illustrated edition of Alice, and the finest painting in Dorothea Tanning’s oeuvre, the eerie Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, with sunflowers bursting colossal tentacles around the little girl with her hair on end in spikes of flame. The Surrealist legacy is still very fertile, in the context of a growing return to myth, fairytale and romanticism. Alice is the prototype of wise child and naive innocent – as seen in the vision not only of such artists as Peter Blake and Graham Ovenden, but of their successors in disquiet, Annelies Štrba and Alice Anderson, practitioners of the contemporary uncanny who give a new feminist twist to the heroine. Alice has grown older and more knowing than her original model, and turned into the receptacle of erotic dreams, a femme enfant with whom women artists strongly identify: the knowledge you are Alice as strong as the longing for her.

Dorothea Tanning's Eine Kleine Nachtmusik

This is quasi-related, but if you haven’t seen Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris, Adrien Brody does an amazing Salvador Dalí:


Dalí's Alice in Wonderland featured on Pawn Stars

There’s an interesting anecdote in a June 4th 2010 New York Times article about Pawn Stars, a History Channel television show about Las Vegas’s Gold and Silver Pawn Shop.

Shelby Tashlin of Las Vegas walked to the counter clutching a boxed edition of “Alice in Wonderland” containing an etching and 12 lithographs by Salvador Dalí. Ms. Tashlin’s opening thrust: the Dali prints were limited in number. Mr. Harrison’s parry: “He’s pretty well known for fudging numbers.” Mr. Harrison spoke about etching versus lithography and allowed that Dalí and Lewis Carroll were a “wonderful combination.” Then it was time for business. Ms. Tashlin wanted $10,000. Mr. Harrison asked if she had taken a little blue pill, and offered $5,000.

She politely declined and walked away still clutching “Alice in Wonderland.” “I was hoping it would go the other way, but I’m not surprised,” she would tell a reporter later.


Alice at 8,700 feet

With all the coverage of the forthcoming Tim Burton movie and Syfy channel series, Alice does seem to be getting about at bit lately. However, there must be someone out there left to be surprised at finding her 8,700 feet up a mountain in the French Alps.

The ski resort of Courchevel, favored winter playground of Russian oligarchs, Saudi Arabian princes and well to-do British families, is known for extravagance. Their decision to hold a season-long exhibition of Dali sculptures, including his “Alice in Wonderland”, up and down the mountain sides is, therefore, business as usual in that surreal and expensive winter fairyland.

The video below shows the thirteen foot-tall statues of “Alice” and “Woman in Flames” being manoeuvred into place. I particularly like the part where Alice is flying between the mountains, suspended on a long cable beneath the helicopter.


More auction items

Bloomsbury New York has a first American edition of Through the Looking Glass and The Harp of a Thousand Strings (the first -albeit unauthorized and uncredited- appearance of Lewis Carroll’s work in a book) up for auction on January 25, while Bloomsbury London has a Dali Alice on the block on February 26.