The exhibitions I had chosen to examine are art installations, I find that in my studying, I tend to focus too much on history, so I figured I would mix it up a bit. Unfortunately, I have not had the pleasure of being particularly educated in the details of the art. The first exhibition I chose was entitled Hope and Togetherness, displayed at the Carpenters Workshop Gallery, a display of sculpture and carpentry pieces. The second exhibit I chose was the Degas at the Opera exhibit hosted at the National Gallery of Art.

I am sure at some point I have seen a Degas painting in some form of media. I have certainly heard the name before. I immensely appreciated the pieces made available by the National Gallery of Art. My first Impression of the Degas at the Opera exhibit is that it would be very unlikely for a single museum to be solely responsible for all of this distinct piece because it is a singular artist depicting a very specific subject. A really interesting thing about the exhibit is that it consists of paintings, sculptures, and monotypes showing the massive range of skill that Degas wielded through his practice. Pieces spanning many decades are present, illustrating Degas’ deep admiration for ballet, opera, and musicians throughout his life. Another thing I found interesting was that many of the scenes portrayed by Degas take place behind the scenes of the performances, further insinuating the artist’s familiarity with the subject. Overall, I believe that this exhibition was a collaboration between a few collections and curators for the reasons stated above.

Hope and Togetherness is a collection of both specifically art-oriented pieces and functional pieces. The pieces are created by a variety of artists and are crafted from a variety of materials. I do not really find much that thematically binds the exhibit together. Each piece is incredibly Unique though all of them seem to share a similar sense of modern sensibility. The reason why this exhibit strikes me as an individual effort is that each exhibit of this gallery is comprised of Unique artists. None of the exhibits seem to have a shared theme. Each object has a discrete description explaining the background of the artist and the themes of the piece. At first, this exhibit looked more like a singular effort. On closer inspection, however, the exhibit is less of an exhibit than a cooperative gallery, if that makes any sense.

It seems that I came to be correct in one of my estimations and incorrect in the other. The Degas exhibit was certainly cooperative; not only are the pieces from a variety of museums, each volunteering piece for display, and the online portion of the exhibit also credits several curators. In my second estimation, I was incorrect, and the effort seems to be held by the artists themselves at the Hope a togetherness exhibition.

Q: Where does the artist participation end? Is it up to the artist?


Wendel Castle, Private: Hope




Edgar Degas, The Curtain

2 Thoughts to “Degas at the Opera V. Hope and togetherness”

  1. Barbara Long

    Good Evening,

    An interesting post. At least you became aware of your perspectives on both the museums exhibitions.In response to your questions, First question, the artist participation never really ends. An artist artwork will contiune through eternity, either spiritually or physically in some form or another in print/hardcopies and of course digitally. Artwork providing that it survives is living document so to speak.It will create emotions, difference of opinions, controversy, promote educational components, comparable analysis, as well as introduction of new techniques etc. Second question: Yes, it is up to the artist to decide. I believe that an artist will always have a choice. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Angela Linn

    Thanks Dylan, for an interesting comparison of two different art exhibits. It’s important for us to stretch ourselves in this course to examine subjects and perspectives outside our normal interests so I’m glad you took this opportunity to look beyond history. I really like the layout of this online exhibit, with the images, the accompanying audio and video elements, related resources, events, press, and other objects. It’s true there’s collaboration between lending organizations and a couple of different curators – I wonder how much input from others were included in the development of this show? Art museums in particular are often criticized for not embracing the collaborative exhibit making process, with curators seen as the experts who can’t be questioned. Our discussion of the Minneapolis Institute of Art and the “Hearts of Our People” show being in sharp contrast to that model. I wonder how much this type of model can be taken up by a classic art history type of exhibit?

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