Curator Jodi Hauptman gives NYC-ARTS a tour of the exhibition “Edgar Degas: A Strange New Beauty,” on view at the Museum of Modern Art through July 24, 2016.

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> NEXT, WE'LL VISIT THE MUSEUM OF MODERN ART FOR A LOOK AT THE EXHIBITION EDGAR DEGAS, A STRANGE NEW BEAUTY.

A MAJOR FIGURE OF 19th CENTURY ART, DEGAS IS PERHAPS BEST KNOWN AS A PAINTER WHO PORTRAYED THE BACKSTAGE WORLD OF THE BALLET.

HOWEVER, HIS WORK AS A PRINTMAKER REVEALS A DIFFERENT AND VERY IMPORTANT FACET OF HIS RESTLESS CREATIVITY.

THIS EXHIBITION FOCUSES ON RARELY SEEN PRINTS THAT WERE MADE USING A SPECIAL TECHNIQUE CALLED MONOTYPE.

IN THIS PROCESS, DRAWING IS DONE IN INK, ON A METAL PLATE, AND THEN RUN THROUGH A PRESS TYPICALLY RESULTING IN A SINGLE PRINT.

THIS IS MOMA'S FIRST EXHIBITION FOCUS ED ENTIRELY ON THE WORK OF THIS ARTIST AND THE FIRST SHOW IN THE U.S. IN NEARLY 50 YEARS TO EXAMINE THESE RADICAL INNOVATIVE WORKS.

'NYC ARTS' RECENTLY SPOKE WITH JODIE HOFFMAN, THE CURATOR OF THE SHOW.

DEGAS IS PROBABLY BEST KNOWN FOR HIS PAINTINGS OF BALLERINAS.

BUT IF YOU DIG INTO HIS WORK, YOU SEE HE WAS REALLY WILDLY EXPERIMENTAL AND REALLY SEE THAT IN HIS MONOTYPES.

DEGAS MADE OVER 300 MONOTYPES AND WE HAVE 120 IN THE EXHIBITION.

AND SO YOU REALLY GET THE SENSE OF AN ARTIST WHO FALLS IN LOVE WITH THE MEDIUM AND TAKES IT AS FAR AS HE CAN GO.

DEGAS MADE MONOTYPES IN TWO FORMS.

ONE IS CALLED THE LIGHT FIELD.

AND ONE IS CALLED THE DARK FIELD.

A LIGHT FIELD MONOTYPE IS THE KIND OF ADDITIVE PROCESS.

DEGAS WOULD DRAW WITH INK ON THE PLATE AND RUN IT THROUGH THE PRESS.

THE DARK FIELD IS WHERE HE WOULD LAY A CURTAIN OF INK ON THE PLATE AND THEN DRAW BY A REMOVAL.

AND HE OFTEN USED DIFFERENT KINDS OF MATERIALS, THE PACK OF HIS BRUSH FOR VERY FINE LINES, OR FABRIC.

THE PLATE IS A VERY SLICK SURFACE AND THE INK IS VERY VISCOUS AND STICKY.

AND SO IT ENCOURAGED DEGAS TO MOVE THE INK IN A VERY GESTURAL WAY.

THIS WAS AN ARTIST WHO WAS TRAINED IN A VERY PRECISE KIND OF DRAWING.

SO MONOTYPE LOOSENED HIM UP AND LIBERATED HIM.

AND REALLY ALLOWED HIM TO MAKE WORKS THAT IN THE 1890s WERE VERGING ON ABSTRACTION.

THERE WAS NOTHING LIKE IT AMONG HIS PEERS.

THE MONOTYPE USUALLY YIELDS A SINGLE IMPRESSION BUT OFTEN THERE WAS STILL INK LEFT ON THE PLATE.

AND SO DEGAS WOULD RUN THE PLATE THROUGH A SECOND TIME AND HE WOULD GET A KIND OF GHOST IMAGE, A DEGRADED IMAGE OF THE FIRST.

AND HE WOULD ADD PASTEL AND THE RESULT WERE TWO WORKS THAT WERE BOTH THE SAME AND DIFFERENT FROM THE OTHER.

AND SO WHAT IT TAUGHT HIM IS THAT YOU CAN EXTRACT MORE THAN ONE WORK FROM A SINGLE IMAGE.

DEGAS WAS ALWAYS LOOKING FOR NEW MEANS, NEW TECHNIQUES TO DESCRIBE NEW SUBJECTS.

AND ELECTRIC LIGHT WAS NEW AT THIS TIME.

AND DEGAS TRIES TO CAPTURE THE SENSE OF THAT ELECTRIC LIGHT.

WE SEE GLOBES OF LIGHT AS PART OF A COMPOSITION.

BUT THEN YOU ALSO SEE HIM USING PASTEL TO SHOW THE WAY THE TWO MIGHT SHIMMER WHEN THE LIGHT HITS THEM OR THE WAY A FACE CAN BE TRANSFORMED INTO A MASK WHEN IT IS HIT WITH BRIGHT LIGHT.

HE SAYS AT SOME POINT THE LIGHT OF THE PICTURE IS NOT THE LIGHT ITSELF BUT THE EFFECT OF LIGHT ON THE BODY.

ONE OF MY FAVORITE WORKS IN THE EXHIBITION IS THE SMALL WORK HEADS OF A MAN AND A WOMAN BECAUSE IT IS REALLY EMBLEMATIC OF DEGAS'S ENGAGEMENT WITH THE MODERN CITY.

HE'S DRAWN THOSE TWO FIGURES AND THEN HE SMEARED THEIR FACES.

AND SO WHAT YOU GET IS THIS SENSE OF WHAT IT MIGHT HAVE FELT LIKE TO SEE PEOPLE AS THEY RUSH BY YOU ON THE CITY STREET.

MANY OF THE WORKS HAVE A TRACE OF DEGAS' OWN HANDS.

YOU PROVIDE MAGNIFYING GLASSES IN THE GALLERY SO YOU CAN SEE CLOSELY, YOU CAN SEE THE WAY HE USES HIS FINGERS AND THIS SEEMED TO ME SO TRANSGRESSIVE FOR AN ARTIST WHO WAS SUCH A CAREFUL DRAFTSMAN, AND HERE HE IS, PUTTING HIS PENCIL ASIDE, PUTTING HIS BRUSH ASIDE AND GETTING HIS HANDS IN THERE.

THERE IS SOMETHING INTERESTING ABOUT THAT.

BECAUSE THERE IS A KIND OF DISTANCE BETWEEN THE ARTIST AND THE WORK IN PRINT MAKING.

BUT WHAT DEGAS HAS DONE IS HE'S INSERTED HIS OWN HAND THERE, HE'S REMINDED YOU, THESE ARE MADE WITH MY HANDS.

ONE OF THE ONLY PORTRAITS THAT DEGAS DOES IN MONOTYPE SHOWS THAT DEGAS WAS ABLE TO CONTROL HIS MEDIUM.

IF YOU LOOK CLOSELY AT HER BLOUSE, IT IS A KIND OF WATERY, STRIPY FEEL THAT IT HAS AND WHAT DEGAS HAS DONE IS HE'S PUT HIS PRINTERS INK ON THE PLATE AND THEN HE'S DROPPED A TURPENTINE, SOLVENT INTO THAT INK AND IT IS KIND OF DISSOLVED IT.

THINK ABOUT HOW DIFFICULT IT WOULD BE TO CONTROL IT.

BUT DEGAS IS A MASTER AT THAT.

IT IS AN EXAMPLE OF HIM BALANCING CHANCE AND CONTROL.

AROUND 1893, DEGAS STOPPED MAKING MONOTYPES AND SO THE EXHIBITION ENDS WITH THE ROOM THAT REALLY FOCUSES ON WHAT DEGAS LEARNED FROM MONOTYPE.

ONE OF THE VERY IMPORTANT THINGS, YOU CAN SEE THAT IN THE PAINTING BEHIND ME, IS THAT HE WAS REALLY INTERESTED IN IDEAS ABOUT REPETITION AND TRANSFORMATION.

THE PAINTING CALLED FREE THE DANCER, AND YOU LOOK AT IT AND SAY IS IT FOUR DANCERS OR AM I SEEING A SINGLE DANCER REPEATED FOUR TIMES AS THE ARTIST MOVES AROUND?

I ENCOURAGE YOU TO COME TO SEE THE EXHIBITION.

EDGAR DEGAS, A STRANGE NEW BEAUTY, ON VIEW NOW.

YOU'LL SEE DEGAS' EXPERIMENTATION, THE WAY HE DEFIES CONVENTION AND REACHES FOR SOMETHING NEW.

REALLY LESSER KNOWN SIDE OF THE ARTIST.