The Rodin Museum in Philadelphia, a short distance from and overseen by the Philadelphia Museum of Art, houses the gift of the movie theater magnate Jules E. Mastbaum, and supplements it with long-term exhibitions built around the collection as well as works by other artists. The latest is “Rethinking the Modern Monument,” organized by Alexander Kauffman, the Andrew W. Mellon–Anne d’Harnoncourt Postdoctoral Curatorial Fellow at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.1 Given the fraught nature of commemorative art in our day (see Frank Gehry’s Eisenhower Memorial) the subject couldn’t be more timely.

The core of the show is, outside, a cast of the Burghers of...

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