I first went to the Dali museum several years ago when I came to St. Petersburg to visit a great aunt. At the museum I learned that people often show up there by mistake: They think it is a museum dedicated to Dolly Parton. "We usually try to coax them into taking a look anyway," a museum spokeswoman told me back then. I am sure that those who did discovered, much to their surprise, that the works by the surrealist Spanish painter could be every bit as entertaining as the country singer.
Dali: The Salvador Dali Museum Collection (Little Brown, $45) reminds me once again of Dali's entertainment value. This volume contains more than 150 dream-inspired pieces from the museum, the largest collection of Dali's works in the world: oil paintings, drawings and watercolors filled with melting watches, flying objects, amusing puzzle pieces and symbols that tap into our innermost fantasies.
The book, despite its lush illustrations, is no substitute for a visit to the real thing, but it brought back memories for me of just how deliciously weird the man with the upturned mustache can be.
_ Margo Hammond