BYU says Rodin art not in tune with exhibit theme

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    By KRISTEN SONNE

    Four sculptures from “The Hands of Rodin, a tribute to B. Gerald Cantor” from the original collection will not be included in BYU’s display.

    “The Kiss,” “Saint John The Baptist Preaching,” “The Prodigal Son,” and “Monument to Balzac” are the four pieces the BYU administration decided to put aside, not allowing the community, nor the BYU population to view.

    “Every museum functions directly in relationship to its audience,” said Campbell Gray, Museum of Art director. “There are a lot of museums in the world that do not analyze its audience, cares for it, or tries to understand it, that tries to respond to it,” he said.

    “We feel that both because of the audience here and the symbols of this university and the community, and the museum therefore, that these particular works just have the kind of content that most people would rather not think about the hands and not the relationship to the foundation.”

    Gray said the audience needs to remember the entire exhibit should be a tribute to B. Gerald Cantor.

    He also said one reason these pieces were left out was because they did not follow the theme of the exhibition.

    Gray said the decision to leave the four works from the exhibit was not made by just one person.

    “This has been a process that has taken some months to consider,” Gray said. “There have been various people in the university administration, the Board of Trustees, all meeting together on a regular basis looking at it. And that’s the standard process, not that people are involved that extensively, in a lot of cases.”

    Every time an exhibition comes in, a museum has to carefully consider what the meanings of the works of art will be and how it will be presented, Gray said.

    “Works of art do have meanings. They are just not aesthetic objects,” he said. “They do convey meanings, they carry meanings.

    “One of the roles of a museum is to encourage people to think about those things, and so we go through a lengthy process looking at the meanings and how our audiences, there is never just one audience, will think about the works and what might be appearing as we present them. This is a natural process for us to go through.”

    “This is never a particular group of people, it is restructured every time a decision and things come along. First of all, there are lots of questions involved with exhibitions like this.”

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