In the natural world, the acts of consuming and being consumed create an inherent tension between organisms; the transfer of energy that links organisms in a specific community creates producers and primary consumers. Salvador Dalí: Consumer/Consumed explores the pictorial and cinematic iconography produced by Dalí, and how that iconography became the catalyst for a distinct visual language that would be "consumed" by other filmmakers. Conversely, the exhibition also examines ways in which Dalí was the beneficiary of others' cinematic methodologies.

Dalí frequented the Cineclub Español in Madrid, where he saw not only European avant-garde films, but also American films such as The Mark of Zorro (1920) and Tom Mix Westerns. The cinematographic language that Dalí absorbed as a viewer later played a pivotal role in the paintings and films he made; in turn, Dalí's representations were absorbed by other artists. For example, the clear visual interrelationship between the 1917 footage of opthalmological surgery performed by Spanish surgeon Dr. Barraquer, the notorious slitting of the eye in Un Chien andalou (1928), and the wall of vigilant eyes in Noam Murro's television commercial Stolen Car (2007) provides a living example of this continuum of production and influence among artists and filmmakers. This exhibition presents films that influenced Dalí as well as those that demonstrate his influence.

The film exhibitions were organized by Anne Morra, Assistant Curator, Department of Film. Dalí: Painting and Film is coordinated for MoMA by Jodi Hauptman, Curator, Department of Drawings.