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
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.
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