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Sunday November 23, 2014
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Rodin at UMMA

 

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would heighten the dignity of each piece and allow visitors to refresh their mental palates between works, by framing each one in empty space. And behind ropes — no sooner had I read a warning not to touch the works, since skin chemicals cause irreversible damage, than I saw some idiot touch one.

Expensive piles of Rodin merchandise in the gift shop — which juts into the airy apse where some of the larger works would be better displayed — include T-shirts, mini-Thinkers, magnets, and a puzzle packaged in a bottle. The items and the sculptures' crowded presentation give an uneasy impression of Rodin-as-commodity that threatens to subsume the pleasure of pondering the sculptures.

The small work Iris Waking Nymph (right) shows the fairylike Iris alighting on the thighs of a sleepy nymph. The glossy black work offers visual rhymes — the nymph's bent arm mirrors the forty-five-degree angle of Iris's leg, and Iris's straightened arms echo the nymph's lower legs in poetic parallelism.

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