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Rodin | Response
FIELD family secrets

June 14–September 8, 2024

Vance Waddell and Mayerson Galleries (Galleries 124 and 125)
Free Admission
Press Release

Posing unexpected questions, Rodin | Response: FIELD family secrets represents the culmination of a research and creative project led by artist and educator Mrin Aggarwal (Supermrin). On view are works by contemporary artists (including Supermrin) and University of Cincinnati (UC) undergraduates, and objects spanning the breadth of CAM’s collections.

At the center of the exhibition stand four full-scale bronze figures by renowned sculptor Auguste Rodin (French, 1840–1917) on loan to the museum through the generosity of Iris Cantor. Rodin conceived the statues in the 1880s as part of The Burghers of Calais. In this revered work, the artist reoriented the long tradition of the sculptural monument in Europe by shifting the focus from triumphant glory to human suffering, changing what forms and meanings a public monument can take.

Informed by Supermrin’s own practice, titled FIELD, Rodin | Response serves as an artistic reply to Rodin’s Burghers. Supermrin, along with her undergraduate students at UC’s School of Art and consulting artist Laura K. Reeder, created nine works which present contemporary sculpture as inheritances—the “family secrets” embedded within the fragmented legacies of colonialism and the early modernism of Rodin’s era.

In addition to the Rodin sculptures, the exhibition also displays an array of objects from CAM’s collections—including an Egyptian mirror circa 2000 BCE and a ball of rubber harvested from the Congo river basin in 1890—all provoking different responses from the artists on view.

Rodin | Response Large Print Labels Exhibition Content

Download complete Rodin | Response large print labels, optimized for screen reader.

Guest Curator Lecture: The Art of Response, Adrienne L. Childs, PhD Video

Watch the recording of CAM Presents Guest Curator Lecture: The Art of Response, featuring Adrienne L. Childs, PhD, esteemed independent scholar, art historian, and curator.

Visiting artist and curator Supermrin (Mrinalini Aggarwal) works at the intersections of architecture, sculpture, and landscape. She is the founder of Streetlight, a critical spatial research laboratory for decolonizing public space. Supermrin teaches sculpture and interdisciplinary practice at the School of Art, College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning, University of Cincinnati. From 2020-22 she was a Visiting Artist and Scholar at the Graduate Architecture and Urban Design Program at Pratt Institute, where she incubated material studies for her project FIELD. Her work has been recently featured in Lund Humphries “Towards Another Architecture: New Visions for the 21st Century” (2024) edited by Owen Hopkins, a critical rethinking of Le Corbusier’s legacy in the face of climate change. Supermrin has exhibited in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Her latest exhibition, “Aliens” hosted at PS122 Gallery in NYC this June, explores colonial narratives through plant migration and bioart perspectives.

Exhibition co-curator Peter Jonathan Bell is Curator of European Paintings, Sculpture and Drawings at the Cincinnati Art Museum.

Invited artist Laura Reeder creates walking drawings in snow, leaves, sand, and grasses. She calls the temporary earthworks "cultivators" because they develop new spaces and conversations about boundaries, power, and coexistence of humans with the earth. All of the cultivators invite others to walk in a continuous labyrinth of pathways and pay deeper attention to elements and conditions of a place. As an experienced educator, researcher, and organizer, Reeder helps artists, teachers, and communities to work more effectively together.

Artists Emily Chapin, Emma Hillis, Cameron Jones, Spencer Markham, Taft Marsh, Caroline McKenzie, Lou Shamblin, and Tucker Wood were participants in the Special 3D Studio course “Rodin | Response,” taught by Mrinalini Aggarwal at the School of Art, University of Cincinnati, Spring Semester 2023. Some of their work is included in the exhibition.

Members Opening

Thursday, June 13, 2024, 5–7 p.m.

Guest Lecture: The Art of Response

Thursday, June 13, 2024, 7–8 p.m.

Immersive Opera Event: The Thinker

Friday, August 16, 2024, 7 p.m.

Rodin | Response: FIELD family secrets is organized by the Cincinnati Art Museum in collaboration with Supermrin and the School of Art, University of Cincinnati, and with the participation of the Iris Cantor Collection.

Sponsored by the Harold C. Schott Foundation. Additional support provided by the Wohlgemuth Herschede Foundation.