The Rapidian

Meijer Gardens' fall exhibition celebrates Rodin, contemporary figurative tradition

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The group exhibition Rodin and the Contemporary Figurative Tradition features international artists and several of Rodin’s most compelling works.
Emily Young, Dark Forest Head I, 2013. Photo by Angelo Plantamura.

Emily Young, Dark Forest Head I, 2013. Photo by Angelo Plantamura. /Courtesy of Bowman Sculpture

Underwriting support from:

Exhibition Programming

  • The Rodin Revolution, In and Out of Context
    Sunday, November 5, 2 p.m.
    FEE: Included with Admission
    Presented by Joseph Becherer, Chief Curator and Vice President 
    From the age of the Renaissance until the late 19th century, the figurative tradition in sculpture remained largely uninterrupted. Then came Rodin, and tradition was dramatically changed. Learn which elements Rodin borrowed and broke from within the history of art and come to understand the many new paths he pioneered.
  • Outdoor Guided Sketching
    Fridays, October 6, OR October 20, 3:30 pm
    FEE: Included with Admission
    Presented by Anna Greidanus
    Auguste Rodin is considered the father of modern sculpture for his innovative and descriptive use of the human body, particularly to express emotion. Grab a seat and gather around one of Rodin’s best-known works, Eve, located in the Sculpture Park, as an illustrator guides you in gestural drawing.  Class lasts approximately 60 minutes. RSVP to [email protected] or 616-974-5225.  Limited to 10 guests. Materials provided.
Claire McArdle, Torso Ambrosia 1

Claire McArdle, Torso Ambrosia 1 /Image courtesy of the Artist

/Auguste Rodin, Eve. Photo by William J. Hebert

Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is honored to host 17 contemporary figurative sculptors in an exhibition titled Rodin and the Contemporary Figurative Tradition.

Auguste Rodin (1840 – 1917) was among the most revolutionary figurative artists in history, and his vast influence continues today. Timed to coincide with the hundredth anniversary of Rodin’s death and his universal recognition as the most avant-garde sculptor of his age, this exhibition examines his relevance and vibrancy among Contemporary figurative sculptors.

Central to this exhibition will be loans of several of the master’s most compelling works from the Grand Rapids Art Museum, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Snite Museum of Art and the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Works on loan include Age of Bronze, Head of Balzac, Man with Broken Nose, The Martyr #5 and The Vulcan’s Forge (Aux forges de Vulcain). In addition, work from 17 critically acclaimed figurative sculptors, working from across the international scene, will be presented.

“This year marks Rodin’s centenary and Meijer Gardens celebrates the remarkable impact of his legacy through the work of seventeen Contemporary artists,” said Joseph Becherer, Chief Curator and Vice President of Exhibitions and Collections.

Officially beginning the Friday prior to ArtPrize, Rodin and the Contemporary Figurative Tradition will be on display as Meijer Gardens’ fall exhibition from September 15 through January 7, 2018. ArtPrize runs from Wednesday, September 20 through Sunday, October 8, 2017.

“Often regarded as the “father” of Modern sculpture, Rodin’s legacy is the cornerstone of our collection. This exhibition allows us to explore the boldly impactful way he has inspired major aesthetic trends even today. From representations of figure to use of materials, these selected works allow us to understand both an historic icon and the vitality of the figurative tradition today,” said Becherer.

As part of the ninth annual ArtPrize competition, Meijer Gardens is an official ArtPrize venue. Rodin and the Contemporary Figurative Tradition will be free of charge during ArtPrize (September 20– October 8, 2017). The exhibition areas will be open to the public during Meijer Gardens’ regular business hours, as well as during official ArtPrize hours (Sundays 11 am to 6 pm; Mondays, Wednesday-Saturday, 9 am to 8 pm; Tuesdays 9 am to 9 pm). On ArtPrize’s opening day, the public will be able to register to vote in ArtPrize and ArtPrize exhibition areas will be on display from 9 am to 8 pm. All other areas of Meijer Gardens observe regular hours and standard admission fees.

Visitors can register to vote and purchase official ArtPrize merchandise at Meijer Gardens.  

Rodin and the Contemporary Figurative Tradition is recognized as one of the official centenary events of 2017 by the prestigious Musée Rodin, Paris and the international Rodin Centenary Commission, Centenaire: Rodin 100.

Rodin and the Contemporary Figurative Tradition is made possible by:

The Meijer Foundation
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Foundation
Botanic and Sculpture Societies of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park
Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, a partner agency of the National Endowment for the Arts

About Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

One of the world’s most significant botanic and sculpture experiences, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park serves over 700,000 visitors annually. Meijer Gardens was recently ranked in the top 100 most-visited art museums worldwide by Art Newspaper, the leading publication in global art news. The 158-acre main campus features Michigan’s largest tropical conservatory; one of the largest interactive children’s gardens in the country; arid and Victorian gardens with bronze sculptures by Degas and Rodin; a carnivorous plant house; outdoor gardens; and a 1900-seat outdoor amphitheater, featuring an eclectic mix of world-renowned musicians every summer. The internationally acclaimed Sculpture Park features a permanent collection including works by Oldenburg, Moore, Hepworth, Serra, Bourgeois, Ai Weiwei and Plensa, among others. Indoor galleries host changing sculpture exhibitions with exhibitions by Ai Weiwei, Picasso, Degas, di Suvero, Borofsky, Calder and Dine.  In June 2015, the eight–acre Richard & Helen DeVos Japanese Garden at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park opened.  Created by renowned designer Hoichi Kurisu, the garden features sculpture by Anish Kapoor, Jenny Holzer and Guiseppe Penone, among others.

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