On a lovely summer evening in late August a lively crowd of students, faculty, and townspeople turned out for the public opening of Rodin: The Human Experience; Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Collections at the Joel and Lila Harnett Museum of Art at the University of Richmond. This exhibition of 32 bronzes from the Cantor Collections is on a three-year tour of American museums.
The Harnett’s opening celebration began with a welcome by Elizabeth Schlatter (left), deputy director and curator of exhibitions at the Museums. She shared insights gained about Rodin’s sculpture from the process of installing the show, saying that “one thing I didn’t quite expect until we started laying out the exhibition was the contrast between the dark and often warm colors of the bronzes and the creamy white paint of our walls and pedestals. This contrast creates a silhouette effect and manages to bring out the strong linear quality of these pieces.”
Schlatter went on to say, ”When we talk about sculpture we often first discuss 3-dimensional volume, as it’s a distinctive quality from…paintings or prints. But when curators are figuring out where to put things throughout a gallery, we are often concerned with with sightlines, that is, when a visitor stands at one end of a gallery, how does everything look in front of you, is there something grand across the way that holds your attention as you turn a corner, is there a flow amongst the objects, are things in front of each other blocking your view or can you highlight adjacencies, having works that reveal similarities and differences merely by their placement next to each other.
“So when…figuring out the placement of these Rodin pieces, we’d put a work on a pedestal with a head…looking to the left, then Richard Waller (our executive director) and I would stand back, way back, and see how it looks. And it would look great. And then we’d ask our preparators to turn the sculpture maybe 20 degrees counter-clockwise, and it would look even better. An example of this would be Rodin’s “Monumental Head of Shade,” which is this exquisite torqued head and neck, originally from “The Gates of Hell.” Each time we turned the head around we got an amazing new profile, …[one] you can really only appreciate when you see the work in person and in the gallery space, against this light background. And over and over again this would happen as we were laying out the show — beautiful and different contours would be revealed as we played around with the alignment of the works and each time I would think (and pardon my language), but Damn, Rodin was a genius.”
Schlatter’s inspiring introduction was followed by a piano concert by Joanne Kong and Paul Hanson (right) from the University of Richmond’s Department of Music, who played — with explanations — music popular at Rodin’s time. This led into a lecture by Cantor Foundation Executive Director Judith Sobol, speaking about the formation of the renowned Cantor Collection and about Rodin’s achievements in transforming sculpture from a traditional to a modern art form. Sobol’s talk was followed by a reception and viewing of the exhibition.
Speaking later, University of Richmond Museums Executive Director Richard Waller (left, with Cantor Foundation Executive Director Judith Sobol) cited the exceptional opportunity this show offers to college and university museums and galleries. Waller noted the Rodin exhibition “is a perfect fit for our Harnett Museum of Art, it is both beautiful and a powerful experience for our visitors. As a university museum in a liberal arts environment, our mission includes bringing outstanding art to our campus for the enrichment of our students, staff, and faculty, as well as for our greater community. It has been wonderful and gratifying to see the overwhelming response from our audiences, as well as first-time visitors, to this remarkable exhibition from the Cantor Foundation. I would like to thank and acknowledge the Cantor Foundation for providing this important opportunity to bring the experience of Rodin’s creativity and genius to the University of Richmond.”
University of Richmond Museums staff with Cantor Foundation Executive Director Judith Sobol, from left to right: Heather Campbell, Curator of Museums Programs; Richard Waller, Museums Executive Director; David Hershey, Assistant Collections Manager; Stephen Duggins, Museum Preparator; Matthew Houle, Curator of Museum Collections; Henley Guild, Museum Preparator; Katreena Clark, Museums Operations Manager;Elizabeth Schlatter, Deputy Director and Curator of Exhibitions; Martha Wright, Coordinator of Museum Visitor and Tour Services. (All University of Richmond photos © Kim Schmidt.)
The Iris Cantor-UCLA Women’s Health Center sponsored a “Catalyst” symposium on women’s health research this past spring. It was attended by 80 UCLA scientists and included panel presentations on current research and a poster session where 20 researchers described their current research projects and findings.To further their work, three poster presenters were each awarded $2,000 by the Director’s Fund of the Center. A medical student and public health student were also recognized for their work.
“We were thrilled to receive support from the UCLA Clinical and Translational Science Institute, funded by the National Institutes of Health, for this first of its kind symposium. Our researchers are working to understand everything about women’s health. By that, I mean, they are studying everything from how DNA and stem cells function differently in women to how stress and diet affect women’s health, and why some women are able to adopt a healthy lifestyle, while others struggle. We’re very thankful to Mrs. Cantor, the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation, and our Executive Advisory Board for making our research program a reality.”
American Ambassador and American Hospital of Paris Honor Iris Cantor for Her Contributions to Healthcare for Women
Iris Cantor, Founder and President of the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Foundation, is recognized around the world for essentially redefining clinical health care for women — the result of her determination to move the medical establishment toward compassionate healthcare customized to each gender. This past June Iris visited Paris as guest of honor of American Ambassador Jane Hartley, the American Embassy, and the American Hospital of Paris. She was honored for her years of dedication to women’s health around the world. Most importantly, her visit commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation’s funding an endowed lecture series at the American Hospital of Paris making possible an annual lecture about the newest developments in women’s healthcare.
Introducing her guest at a luncheon in her honor, Ambassador Hartley joked that if she listed all her “good friend Iris’ awards and accomplishments, we would all be sitting at lunch for another 20 years.”
Starting with the strong belief that sharing information leads to greater accomplishments, twenty years ago Iris and Bernie Cantor also sparked a relationship between New York-Presbyterian Hospital and the American Hospital of Paris. They encouraged periodic travel by doctors from both hospitals, visiting the other to share discoveries, information, and procedures.
Iris is still encouraging sharing. At the June events she introduced the doctors and friends of the American Hospital to her friends at the Musée Rodin, who led the Hospital team on an “amazing” tour through the newly restored mansion-museum. Reports are that the week in Paris was filled with laughter, great company, and wonderful food. Au revoir Paris, until next time!
Rodin: Portraits of a Lifetime, Selections from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Collections now on view at Cedar Rapids Museum of Art in Iowa
Residents and summer visitors to Cedar Rapids have the opportunity to see the Foundation’s circulating exhibition, Rodin: Portraits of a Lifetime, now on view at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art until September 11. Part of a museum-wide celebration of portraiture, the exhibition’s stop in Cedar Rapids is part of its three-year nation-wide tour.
“The Rodin exhibition offers people a rare opportunity to see work by the most important sculptor since Michelangelo,” said Sean Ulmer, the Museum’s Executive Director. “Rodin redefined sculpture and ushered in the modern era. In many ways, he did for sculpture what the Impressionists did for painting.”
Commenting on the long-term friendship between the Cantor Foundation and the Museum, Foundation Executive Director and Curator Judith Sobol noted that the Museum hosted a large Cantor Rodin respective in 1991 and has also been a “favorite place for loans. We are delighted that the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art continues to welcome loans and traveling exhibitions from our collection.”
Iris Cantor and the Board of the Cantor Foundation joined with hundreds of friends, alumni, and supporters in celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Tisch School of the Arts at NYU. The April 4 event at Jazz at Lincoln Center raised a gala record of scholarship support for the much-admired school.
The Cantor Family and the Cantor Foundation have been long-term and ardent supporters of Tisch. Previous Cantor support has included a Cantor Scholarship Fund and the creation of the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Film Center. Most recently Iris Cantor announced her support for the construction of a state-of-the-art proscenium theater at the School. The performance space will be named the Iris Cantor Theater.
As you can see by the photos, Tisch has a great many admirers!