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November 15, 2012

Go for “Bronze” in London

By Maureen Cassidy-Geiger | Art

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Roberto Fortuna & Kira Ursem, The National Museum of Denmark

A blockbuster exhibition is winding down at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. Simply titled “Bronze,” the show opens with a bang in the form of a fragmentary life-size figure of a satyr dancing with wild abandon; it closes on December 9. The high-energy Dancing Satyr of Mazara del Vallo, Greek and datable to the fourth century B.C., was netted by fishermen off the coast of Sardinia in 1998 and is only one of several incredible loans negotiated by curator David Ekserdjian, whose premise was simple: let three millennia of bronze castings do all the talking (and pack the scholarship into the catalogue). Dispensing with convention, Ekserdjian groups the bronzes according to type—figures, animals, objects (like The Chariot of the Sun, pictured above), reliefs, gods, busts—instead of by chronology or geography, juxtaposing large and small, African and Asian, Ghiberti and de Kooning against dark walls with dramatic lighting to stunning effect. Connoisseurs might grumble, but none will deny that bronze is the new gold. Through December 9; royalacademy.org.uk.

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