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Artnet News
Dec. 9, 2009 

NEW DEGAS BRONZES AT HERAKLEIDON MUSEUM
A set of 74 new bronzes of dancers, bathers and horses attributed to Edgar Degas have gone on view at the Herakleidon Museum, a private museum in Athens. The bronzes have been recently made from what is believed to be a long-lost set of 74 plaster casts of Degas’ original wax sculptures. The exhibition, "The Complete Sculptures of Edgar Degas," Nov. 27, 2009-Apr. 4, 2010, is touring to other museums as well, including the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, where it opens on Mar. 25, 2010. The first U.S. venue for the show is the New Orleans Museum of Art, where it appears in 2011.

The man behind this impressive project is Walter F. Maibaum, a New York scholar who heads authentication committee of the Salvador Dali Research Center and is executive director of the new Degas Sculpture Project Ltd. With the approval of the Degas heirs and in accordance with French law, Maibaum plans to produce new casts of the 74 sculptures in editions of 26 copies each, which are to be made available exclusively to museums.

"I have a waiting list from museums around the world," Maibaum said in a phone interview. At present, only two museums have complete sets of Degas sculptures (from the earlier casts): one at the Metropolitan Museum, bequeathed by Mrs. H.O. Havemeyer, who purchased the set in 1921 at the urging of Mary Cassatt, and the other at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, which acquired its set in 1976.

The story of the new casts is an interesting one. Degas himself only exhibited a single sculpture in his lifetime, the famous Little Dancer, Age 14 (1881), which received rather negative critical reviews. But he continued to work in wax (or more accurately, beeswax mixed with plasteline modeling clay) and after he died his heirs found about 150 sculptures in his apartment and studio. Of these, 74 were judged to be complete enough to be cast in bronze. The foundry of Adrien-Aurelin Hébrard was contracted to cast 22 bronzes from each sculpture. Over the years, many more bronzes were made -- 1,380 in all, according to a survey done in 2002.

But where do the new bronzes come from? It seems that over the years, a sculptor named Albert Bartholomé periodically made plaster casts of Degas’ wax sculptures, with the permission of the artist. These casts were largely unknown, and eventually ended up at the Valsuani Foundry in Chevreuse, France. There, the plasters were rediscovered by Maibaum, and he undertook the current project.

The new Degas sculptures have the potential to upset the status quo in both Degas scholarship and the Degas market. According to Maibaum (and other experts), the new bronzes cast from the Bartholomé plasters are actually more accurate and more detailed than other existing Degas bronzes, which are casts from bronze casts, or surmoulages. "Thus," writes Maibaum in the exhibition catalogue, these new bronzes "are superior in fidelity and closer to the hand of Degas."

OPEN CALL FOR PINCHUK PRIZE
With his new, $100,000 Future Generation Art Prize, Ukrainian steel magnate and art super-patron Victor Pinchuk is more democratic than most, issuing an "open call" for artists to enter the competition (In an interview with Bloomberg, Pinchuk reveals that he was inspired by the ethos of Takashi Murakami’s GEISAI Museum fair, for which he has served as a judge). Applications -- and thousands should pour in -- go online on Jan. 18, 2010, at www.futuregenerationartprize.org. As far as we can tell, no application fee is required. In addition, some 100 nominators are to suggest candidates for the award

The prize is designed to support "a generation of emerging artists," and so is restricted to artists aged 35 and under. In addition to the $100,000 grand prize, five $20,000 artist-in-residency awards are planned. Strangely, the competition calls for four "mentor artists" -- Andreas Gursky, Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons and Takashi Murakami -- to give "counsel and support" to prizewinners.

The scheme calls for works by group of shortlisted artists to go on view at the Pinchuk Art Centre in October, and a winner of the main prize to be selected by an international jury in December 2010. The award is overseen by a board that includes, along with the four mentor artists, Eli Broad, Dakis Joannou, Elton John, Miuccia Prada, Guggenheim Museum director Richard Armstrong, Museum of Modern Art director Glenn D. Lowry, Alfred Pacquement of the Pompidou Centre, and Tate head Nicholas Serota.

MONEY FOR ART WRITERS
A total of $170,000 has gone out to 26 individual art writers in the 2009 Creative Capital / Warhol Foundation Art Writers Grant Program. The awards range from $5,000 to $50,000 in five categories. For more info, and to apply for next year’s grants, see www.artwriters.org

Articles: Christoph Cox, Conceptual Art and the Sonic Turn, Amherst, Mass.; Jen Graves, Regrade: Rediscovering Seattle’s Artificial Roots, Seattle, Mass.; Chris Kraus, Tiny Creatures, Los Angeles; Fionn Meade, Loose Ends: The Mimetic Faculty & Narrative in Contemporary Film and Video, Brooklyn; Judith Rodenbeck, Once More With Feeling; New York.

Blogs: Greg Cook, The New England Journal of Aesthetic Research, Malden, Mass.; Gene McHugh, Post-Internet, Brooklyn; Mira Schor, A Year of Positive Thinking; New York.

Books: Bill Anthes, Hock E Aye Vi: Edgar Heap of Birds, Los Angeles; Huey Copeland, Bound to Appear: Art, Slavery, and the Radical Imagination, Chicago; Craig Dworkin, There Is No Medium, Salt Lake City; Lisa Farrington, Emma Amos: Art as Legacy, New York; Martin Friedman, Artist Stories, New York; Ed Halter, New Experimental Cinema in America, 1990–now [working title], Brooklyn; Pamela Lee, Think Tank Aesthetics: Mid-Century Modernism, the Social Sciences, and the Rise of "Visual Culture", San Francisco; Barbara Moore, Observing the Avant-Garde: Peter Moore & The Photography of Performance, New York; John Yau, Martin Puryear, New York.

New and alternative media: Geeta Dayal, Locative Art and Urban Space: Mapping an Emerging Field, Boston.

Short form writing: Amy Bernstein, Portland, Ore.; Janet Estep, Minneapolis; Jeffrey Kastner, Brooklyn; Kelly Klaasmeyer, Houston; Morgan Meis, Brooklyn; John Motley, Portland, Ore., Cameron Shaw, Brooklyn, Christian Viveros-Faune, Brooklyn.

THE MOTH COMES TO THE MET
The hottest thing in literary podcasts is The Moth, a New York organization that has held live storytelling events since 1997. Now, the Moth is coming to the Metropolitan Museum, with a show on Dec. 15, 2009, hosted by Bored to Death auteur Jonathan Ames and featuring Kyp Malone, Starlee Kine, Anthony Zito, Peter Aguero and Barbie Izquierdo.

Admission is $30, but it hardly matters, since the show was sold out before it was announced. The event is keyed to the Met’s own storytelling exhibitions, "American Stories: Paintings of Everyday Life, 1765-1915," and "Looking In: Robert Frank’s The Americans."

JACK NICHOLSON LOVES PICASSO
Academy Award winning actor Jack Nicholson was one high-profile guest at the opening last month of "Picasso," Nov. 28, 2009-Mar. 14, 2010, at Heather James Fine Art in Palm Desert, Ca. No word yet on whether the Hollywood legend acquired any of the art on view, an important private collection of 80 examples of Picasso’s ceramics. The show includes Grand White Vase with Four Panels, one of the artist’s major ceramic works, as well as La Petite Chouette (1953), an assemblage sculpture of a rooster from the Ganz Collection, and the exquisitely colorful linocut Buste de Femme d’apres Cranach (1953), made after Picasso left Paris for the south of France. Prices range from $5,000 to $25 million. For further info, see www.heatherjames.com

GREAT NUDE INVITATIONAL SET
Figurative artists are being sought to exhibit in The Great Nude Invitational 2010, Mar. 4-7, 2010, at the Roger Smith Hotel on Lexington Avenue in New York. Between 20 and 30 artists are expected to display their works in the rooms of the hotel; prices range between $2,500 and $5,000. Panel discussions and "live drawing parties" are also promised. Applications are due by Jan. 10, 2010. The event is organized by Jeffrey Wiener, who publishes an online figurative-art magazine at www.thegreatnude.tv


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