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Degas: Dance, Politics and Society
Edited with introduction and text by Adriano Pedrosa, Fernando Oliva. Foreword by Adriano Pedrosa. Text by Ana Magalhães, Anthea Callen, Gabriela Gotoda, Isolde Pludermacher, Leïla Jarbouai, Leslie Dick, Norma Broude, Raisa Rexer, Susan Tenneriello.
A radical reconception of Degas’ sculpture through the lens of gender, labor and more, with new photography of the works
This substantial new monograph on the work of Edgar Degas (1834–1917), one of the most significant artists of the 19th and 20th centuries, is a decisive contribution to the literature on the French Impressionist artist. An innovative and groundbreaking book, with underlying discussions related to “dance, politics and society,” it pays special attention to issues of gender, identity, labor, race and the representation of women. Degas worked in various mediums, and, at the end of his life, left around 6,000 works, including 2,000 related to the world of dance and ballet. The contradictions and ambiguities of his art, especially the way he straddles both tradition and modernity, reaffirm both his uniqueness and significance in the history of Western art.
Degas: Dance, Politics and Society includes ten essays, never before published, by experts around the world, and also features a visual essay of black-and-white photographs of the bronze sculptures, including Little Dancer Aged Fourteen, by the Brazilian artist Sofia Borges. Through her camera, Borges reinterprets and conceives new images of Degas' most cherished and classic sculptures. Borges’ extraordinary photographs reveal, transform and revisit Degas’ works in an innovative and radical manner.
Sofia Borges, “Untitled,” 2020. Photograph after Edgar Degas’s two “Dancer Looking at the Sole of Her Right Foot” and “Woman Combing Her Hair,” 1890–1911, collection MASP. Courtesy of the artist, São Paulo, Brazil.
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FROM THE ARTBOOK BLOG
CORY REYNOLDS | DATE 8/17/2021
This 2020 photograph by Sofia Borges of Edgar Degas’s iconic 1880 bronze, “Little Dancer Aged Fourteen,” is reproduced from Degas: Dance, Politics and Society, published by DelMonico Books and Museu de Arte de São Paulo to accompany the recent MASP exhibition radically reconceiving the notorious French Impressionist’s sculpture through the lens of gender, identity, labor, race and the representation of women. “In his own day, Degas was called a ‘misogynist’ by some and a ‘feminist’ by other nineteenth-century commentators, who were discomforted by his unorthodox images of contemporary women,” Norma Broude writes. “Those images threatened to pose an unwelcome challenge to the patriarchal status quo, a threat that the accusation of misogyny—personal perversion on the artist’s part—might act to neutralize and contain. In the present day, Degas’s art continues to function as a societal lightning rod, for we see reflected in it many of the issues of gender inequity and sexual exploitation that have survived, unresolved, into the present. From that perspective, we might understand the persistent parroting of the ‘misogyny’ label in the Degas literature as a continuation of the same blame-shifting strategy that was first deployed against him by his contemporaries. The persistence of that characterization reflects not only the enduring power in our own world of the patriarchal ideology that Degas’s art attempted to unmask, but also our society’s need to disguise its survival.”
Image credit: Sofia Borges, “Untitled,” 2020. Photograph after Edgar Degas’s “Little Dancer Aged Fourteen,” 1880, collection MASP. Courtesy of the artist, São Paulo, Brazil.
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DELMONICO BOOKS/MUSEU DE ARTE DE SãO PAULO
USD $85.00 | CAN $116 UK £ 67
Pub Date: 8/3/2021
Active | In stock