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Norton Simon Museum celebrates centennial of Degas' death

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In his lifetime, the famous French artist Edgar Degas (1834-1917) exhibited just one of his sculptures – Little Dancer, Aged Fourteen. Only a few of his friends were allowed to see his studio, where he kept more than 100 wax and clay small-scale sculptural studies of horses, dancers, and bathers.

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Installation shots of "Taking Shape: Degas as Sculptor"
Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena
Images courtesy of Norton Simon Art Foundation

After Degas' death, his heirs selected 74 of the best-preserved clay and wax studies and cast them in bronze. Norton Simon was the smart and lucky collector to acquire 72 of 74 bronze modèles. Now, in celebration of 100 years since Degas' death, Norton Simon Museum has put on display all these bronze modèles for the first time.

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(L) Edgar Degas, "After the Bath," c. 1890-1893
Pastel on tracing paper mounted on cardboard
Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena
(R) Edgar Degas, "Seated Woman Wiping Her Left Side," 1919-21
Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena
Images courtesy of Norton Simon Art Foundation

Most of us are well familiar with Degas' pastels and oil paintings with their sensual but unidealized images of dancers and bathers. Now, in this exhibition, we can see these images along with bronze sculptures of the same subjects.

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Installation view of "Taking Shape: Degas as Sculptor"
Norton Simon Museum, Pasadena
Photo by Edward Goldman

And, these bronze sculptures come across as even more truthful and matter-of-fact snapshots of movement. This exhibition, Taking Shape: Degas as Sculptor, runs through April 9, 2018. It's our only chance to see all these bronze modèles together, because life is not fair, and most of these unique sculptures will go back to museum storage.

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Installation views of "Art of South and Southeast Asia"
USC Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena
Images courtesy of USC Pacific Asia Museum

Other good news coming from Pasadena is the reopening of USC Pacific Asia Museum after its seismic retrofit, which kept the museum closed for a year. This historic 1924 building is "designed in the style of a Chinese imperial palace, and features a central courtyard with a garden, small pool, and decorative carvings" (Wikipedia).

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Installation views of "Art of South and Southeast Asia"
USC Pacific Asia Museum, Pasadena
Images courtesy of USC Pacific Asia Museum

In its renewed building, the museum highlights its extensive collection of classic and contemporary arts of Asia and the Pacific Islands. The grand reopening of the museum also presents an intriguing exhibition, Winds from Fusang: Mexico and China in the Twentieth Century, exploring the influence of Mexican art on contemporary Chinese murals.

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(T) Detail of Nancy Lemke, "Only 8 1Ž2 of Many Million," 2015
(Bot L) Kathryn Pellman, "Angry Nasty Woman," 2017
(Bot R) Susan R. Lane, "Broken – Sate of the Union 2017," 2017
All artworks part of Art Quilts at California Heritage Museum, Santa Monica
Photo by Edward Goldman

I bet that many of you have passed by the charming, well-preserved late 19th century building on Main Street in Santa Monica. But, how many of you have been inside? Today, it is the home of the California Heritage Museum. Last week, it opened a new quilt exhibition, Art Quilts, with a tongue-in-cheek subtitle, "Not your grandmother's quilt show!" And indeed, it's not.

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Sandra E. Lauterbach
(L) Sandra E. Lauterbach, "Betwixt," 2017
(R) Sandra E. Lauterbach, "Blink," 2016
Art Quilts at California Heritage Museum, Santa Monica
Photo by Edward Goldman

Out of 300 submissions from members of the Studio Art Quilt Associates, the museum selected 64 quilts that range from rather traditional to punchy with a welcome touch of humor. All the quilts are for sale, and if you think that you were a good boy or girl last year, you might want to ask Santa to drop one of these quilts down your chimney…

Credits

Host:
Edward Goldman

Producer:
Benjamin Gottlieb

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