The first thing I saw in my in-box Monday morning was an article about four sculptures by Francois Auguste Rene Rodin being excluded from the exhibit at Brigham Young University. As a recent and proud graduate of this venerable university and a member of the church in good standing, I am shocked and outraged at this small-minded decision.
I studied the humanities with an emphasis in art history, receiving a B.A. in 1992. All four of the pieces the museum administration has chosen to censor from the exhibit were shown to me (in slide format) and my fellow students in many of our art history, humanities and world history courses, from Humanities 101 (for freshmen) to the highest level senior courses.Our professors referred to them in our texts and taught them as beautiful, poignant works of art by one of the greatest masters of the late 19th century. Rodin was a passionate, thoughtful and provocative sculptor, and his work reflects him in every way.
What kind of message does this censorship send to the students in Martha Peacock's 19th century art history courses? That it is acceptable to view masterpieces via a slide show but is dangerous and perverse to experience the actual work of art? This unfortunate decision sends a message of duplicity and provincialism.
For thousands of Utahns, students and otherwise, this may have been the only chance to personally view these masterpieces and yet the administration of the museum is denying that privilege because they deem the art as "lacking in dignity." If ever there were a mixed message being sent to the public, and BYU students past and present, this is it.
Anne W. Kowallis