Degas at the Opera

The Art as Experience radio show returns to WOWD Takoma Radio after a haitus due to the COVID pandemic, and so does the podcast!  Sheila and Tom discuss the recent exhibit at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, Degas at the Opera.

Degas does something here that artists don’t try to do anymore:  create a world.

Edgar Degas, in these paintings, creates the world of the Paris Opera in the 1870’s and 80’s: its audience, its subscribers, its stars and sets. You can experience the enchantment that’s created on the stage, and view, as a voyeur, the young female dancers – training, rehearsing, and performing. Hanging around in the wings, you also see the men who, as subscribers, get the privilege of becoming part of the scene – meeting, chatting up, and propositioning the girls: dressed in black, with top hats, their feet showing under the curtains.

What surprised us in the show was that Degas was really experimental.  There’s a wide range: from super-realistic to wildly abstract.  That stretching and experimenting is there for you to see, and so are the flaws.  This is a rich field to explore.

…. Originally broadcast October 24, 2020.