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  artSPACE@16, pierced at Art Interactive"> E-Mail This Article to a Friend

Women in tights (and towels)
Degas at Harvard, playtime at artSPACE@16, pierced at Art Interactive
BY RANDI HOPKINS

Edgar Degas, Singer with a Glove


Edgar Degas’s paintings of singers singing, ballet dancers rehearsing, women toweling off after a bath, and horses and jockeys at the racetrack are so familiar, it’s easy to forget that in the second half of the 19th century, these realistic, naturally posed images based on contemporary life were new — and radical. In the 1860s, the highest form of art was still the "history painting" that re-created events from the past or illustrated heroic or moralizing episodes from myth, religion, and literature.

Back in 1911, Harvard’s Fogg Art Museum mounted the only one-man museum exhibition the artist enjoyed in his lifetime. Now "Degas at Harvard," which opens at the Fogg August 1, showcases the University’s collection of the artist’s works along with promised gifts and works from Harvard’s Houghton Library and its Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection in Washington, DC. Organized by Edward Saywell, curatorial associate in Drawings at the Fogg, and Stephan Wolohojian, curator in the Department of Paintings, Sculpture, and Decorative Arts, "Degas at Harvard" arranges its 62 drawings, paintings, prints, sculptures, and photographs by theme. One of the original 12 works shown in 1911 — The Rehearsal (1873-’78) — will be on view, and the fragile After the Bath, Woman Drying Herself (1893-’98) will be shown for the first time in 40 years. Several photographs, including Untitled (Self-Portrait in Library) (circa 1895), reveal Degas’s fascination with portraiture and his interest in a new medium, photography.

Around the time that Degas was training his artistic eye on late-19th-century culture, the concept of "leisure" was entering the American vocabulary. "Playscape — Exploring the Landscape of Play and Games," which opens at artSPACE@16 in Malden on July 23, looks at our video games, our weekend warriors (in particular, those who meet each weekend to fly radio-controlled aircraft around Burlington), and our treehouses. Curated by artist Hui May Ho, "Playscape" includes work by Brian Gershey, Hui May Ho, Aimee LaPorte, Carlos Noguera, and Amy Thibault. Summer hours are limited to Saturday afternoons or by appointment, so call before you head out.

If cheering on the Food Service Workers on the Spike Channel’s Extreme Maximum Challenge is your idea of pushing physical and mental limits, it’s time you upped the ante. Fridays nights this summer, Art Interactive is offering "The Summer X Games Events," with extreme VJs and DJs and experimental film, music, and performance art. On August 5, Boston-based bod-piercing artist Ray Aims presents "Flesh and Foundation," a performance and installation that’s billed as full of "beauty and pain, strength and fragility." DJ D’hana provides the music — I’m not sure whether you provide the pain.

"Degas at Harvard" | Fogg Art Museum, 32 Quincy Street, Cambridge | August 1–November 27 | 617.495.9400 | www.artmuseums.harvard.edu | "Playscape — Exploring the Landscape of Play and Games" | artSPACE@16, 16 Princeton Road, Malden | July 23–August 27 | 781.321.8058 | www.artSPACEat16.com | "Flesh and Foundation" | Art Interactive, 130 Bishop Allen Drive, Cambridge | August 5 | 9 pm–midnight | Suggested donation $8 | 617.498.0100 | www.artinteractive.org


Issue Date: July 22 - 28, 2005
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