H. de Roos - The critique of the toronto exhibition


Rodin Shows As Record Breakers: The North Carolina Rodin Festival

After this EXCURSION, we can draw some gereneral conclusions about the value to be assigned to a collection of Rodin plasters, and the exhibition fees it commands:

Rodin, though announcing and co-inventing the paradigm of Modernism, is one of the artists still able to attract a very broad public. His work has aesthetic and expressive qualities that directly speak to the senses - instead of denying them. Only shortly before his death in 1917, three shows introduced a new definition of art: the 1913 Armory Show in New York, featuring Duchamp´s Nude Descending a Staircase and introducing Pablo Picasso´s Cubist style, the 1915 Moscow exhibition of Malevich´s Suprematist paintings, and the Independent Show already mentioned, exhibiting Duchamp´s urinal. These break-throughs, then critical and subversive, now have become the basis for a structure Dixon calls "State Modernism".

Although Duchamp is generally recognized for his contribution to art history, only few people would travel a hundred miles to see his Fountain. Rodin´s work, though innovative and daring, still shows that "outmoded" quality of artistic mastery and does not disappoint the public´s appetite for beauty and drama. Therefore, his work - like that of Van Gogh - is able to draw record numbers of visitors even to smaller venues:

Rodin Exhibit Sets Museum of Art Attendance Record

Lawrence J. Wheeler had high expectations for the Rodin exhibition. But even the director for the North Carolina Museum of Art was surprised that a record 304,066 visitors took in the exhibition April 16-Aug. 13 in Raleigh. The exhibition, titled “Rodin: Sculpture from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Collection,” averaged 2,842 visitors per day during its 107-day run to see more than 110 pieces of work from Auguste Rodin, one of the most innovative and influential sculptors in the history of Western art.

“Everyone thought I had set an unattainable goal for the museum when I predicted 250,000 visitors to Rodin,” says Wheeler. “Not only did we meet that goal, but we far exceeded it, and we were able to expose the museum to North Carolina residents who have never visited us before. Just as important, our visitors had a positive experience.” (..)

In order to accommodate the demand for tickets, the museum opened its doors for 34 consecutive hours during the show's closing weekend. The “Round-the-Clock with Rodin” marathon began at 9 a.m. on Aug. 12 and included a free concert by Paris Combo and a free fireworks and laser show. Nearly 35,000 people visited the museum during the marathon. The previous attendance record for an exhibition at the museum was established last year by “Money to Moore: The Millennium Gift of Sara Lee Corporation.” It ran from Sept. 12 through Nov. 7 and drew 81,090 for its 50 days.

[From: NCCBI - North Carolina Citizens for Business and Industry,
under www.nccbi.org/mag-10-00regional.htm]

As we can easily calculate, Rodin drew nearly twice as much visitors per day over a twice as long period of time than the Henry Moore show.




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