Whence The Thinker?
by Brian Kunde

Since youíre here, you are presumably intrigued by the photo introducing my website, with my body atop the pedestal intended for a famous bronze. Yes, there is a story there. Stanfordís copy of Auguste Rodinís The Thinker, longtime campus symbol and a fixture outside Meyer Library, went AWOL. The story goes that in 1998 it was loaned out for the summer to New Yorkís Rockefeller Center. The summer ended, but the pedestal remained empty. Officially, the statue was stated to be on a sort of artistic tour, with stops at the White House in Washington and the North Carolina Museum of Art. Every so often its imminent return was announced, only to be postponed. I replaced the wandering artwork for a few minutes one weekend, solely for the photo op. Afterwards, in a presumably unrelated move, the university made its own belated effort to fill the void. Starting in January 1999 The Thinkerís home was inhabited by Whistlerís Muse, an armless female nude also by Rodin. As for The Thinker itself, the pedestalís rightful occupant finally reappeared on or about September 8, 2000, and renewed cogitation displaced misplaced cheesecake. All was right with the world.... For about a year. As of September 9, 2001, it went missing again, this time for a year in Australia and Singapore as part of the traveling exhibition "Rodin: A Magnificent Obsession: Sculpture from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Foundation." Another ephemeral replacement surfaced on April 2, 2002, when Pat White and Judy Adamsí wire sculpture The Thinker Thinks Again briefly filled the vacancy. The real thing did eventually return to Stanford, but not to its pedestal. Instead, on September 30, 2002, it was snuck into the Cantor Center for Visual Arts (better known as the Stanford Museum), home of most of the Universityís other Rodins. The motivation for the move? Stanford got tired of fielding irate calls over the empty pedestal every time they sent their prize cash cow on tour! Now even the pedestal is gone, and if you want to see The Thinker you have to visit the Cantor Center. Assuming itís still in there. At last word, The Thinker has been continuing its peripatetic habitsóas of January 23, 2012, it had just returned to the Center after a two-year sabbatical at the North Carolina Museum of Art...
Brian Kunde.
Substitute Thinker
Photo by S. Kunde.
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Whence The Thinker?
by Brian Kunde

Posted 2/8/2000
(updated 9/11/2000, 9/11/2001, 7/29/2003, 7/31/2003, 1/24/2012).

Published by Fleabonnet Press.
© 2000-2012 by Brian Kunde.