Pictured: Moment in the sun at the Norton Simon Museum

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Aristide Maillol sculptures lounge perpetually in the garden at the Norton Simon Museum.
The sculpture garden is one of the museum’s most popular features, and is the centerpiece of the several events, like drawing classes, spotlight art talks and outdoor music performances.
(Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz / Staff)

Have you met the Comtesse?

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KCRW’s resident art critic and one-time teacher at Art Center College of Design, Edward Goldman, went on the air yesterday to introduce an esteemed lady friend to Southern Californians.

She is the alluring Comtesse d’ Haussonville — captured for the ages by French painter Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres.

Goldman has called upon the Comtesse before, in her stately home on the Upper East Side. But even ladies must travel from time to time.

The Comtesse d’ Haussonville is the first loan in a new art-exchange
program between Fifth Avenue’s The Frick Collection and our very own
Norton Simon.

How did the travel — the change of scenery — suit the Comtesse?

“I went on Saturday … wanting to see if here, under the California sun, I would learn something new about her.”

Here’s what he discovered.

The Comtesse is visiting through Jan. 25.

Weekend guide: Demonic presence, some Serendipity, a semi-permanent rainbow and TRAFFIC!

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  • FRIDAY, noon-9 p.m. (opening, on display through March 8)

“Divine Demons: Wrathful Deities of Buddhist Art,” Norton Simon Museum

You won’t want to rub these Buddha bellies. Opening at the Norton Simon Museum is “Divine Demons: Wrathful Deities of Buddhist Art,” a contrast to the smiling Buddhas and serene enlightened beings in the museum’s collection. These figures — many of them baring fangs, drinking blood, or wearing garlands of severed heads — represent the “demonic divine,” protectors of the Buddhist faith. There are 18 paintings, sculptures and ceremonial objects from the Norton Simon permanent collection in this intimate exhibition.
Museum is open every day except Tuesday, from noon to 6 p.m., and noon to 9 p.m. Fridays.
General admission, $8; Seniors, $4
411 W. Colorado Blvd.
(626) 796-4978
www.nortonsimon.org

  • FRIDAY and SATURDAY, 8 p.m.

Serendipity, Madera Design House, downtown L.A.

Serendipity (pictured) promises to be the least stuffy of garden parties, with live installations, aerial artists, dancers and stilt walkers. To boot, it’s a choose-your-own-adventure: Interact and write your night’s story with a collection of characters and creatures with whom to play. The open invitation comes with this curious caveat: “Once you purchase your tickets, you will receive information on location and dress code.” Oh, how we love a good mystery.
Admission: $30; two for $50. Cash bar.
Information and tickets: www.treetopproductions.org

  • SATURDAY (opening, on display through Nov. 15)

“A Rainbow in the Sky,” One Colorado Courtyard

Artist Daniel Buren returns to Pasadena with a large-scale site-specific art installation consisting of 2,268 colorful, striped flags suspended over the pedestrian square. The flags move with the breeze, casting thousands of moving shadows on the courtyard below.  Best of all, viewing the display is free. Just show up.
Located between Fair Oaks, Colorado Boulevard, Union Street, and Delacey in Old Pasadena.
www.armoryarts.org

  • SATURDAY, 3-4 p.m.

Benny Chan talks about “TRAFFIC!”, Pasadena Museum of California Art

The museum hosts an artist talk with Benny Chan, who doesn’t photograph anything you’ve never seen in Southern California (got that?). He’s an architectural photographer who shoots airports, parking garages and, in his exhibit “Traffic,” aerial shots of rush-hour traffic. Chan designed a camera to capture gridlock especially for the series at the Pasadena Museum of California Art. His geometric compositions hint at the darker side of those constructions, like the loneliness of a laundromat or the chaos of our traffic system. Chan captures the beauty and monstrosity of curlicues in an interchange — in a way Google Earth never has.
490 E. Union Street
Free with admission.
(626) 568-3665, Ext. 17
www.pmcaonline.org

(Photos courtesy Treetop Productions/Serendipity)

Four Edgar Degas works go on display at Norton Simon in Pasadena

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Four Edgar Degas works that have not been on view in nearly six years are now on display at the Norton Simon Museum, the arts institution’s officials said.

The works, two charcoal drawings and two landscapes, went on view today in the museum’s 19th century wing, said spokeswoman Leslie Denk.

Pictured here, at top right, is “Dancer (Battement in Second Position),” 1874, a charcoal and chalk work that was a study for “The Rehearsal.”

At bottom right is “Olive Trees against a Mountainous Background,” c. 1890-1892. The Norton Simon Web site notes that Degas is seldom remembered as a landscapist.

You can interact with both these works, and the other two newly displayed pieces, on the Norton Simon site:

But, more importantly, get thee to the Norton Simon and experience them firsthand.

Hours: Mon., Wed.-Thurs., Sat.-Sun. noon to 6 p.m.; closed Tues.; Fri. noon to 9 p.m.

(Photos courtesy Norton Simon Museum)