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June 13, 1970 - Image 6

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Michigan Daily, 1970-06-13
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Page Six

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Saturday, June 13, 1970

Saturday, June 13, 1970

t

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

-9-

.... . ..... , { 7 ,.. f - - -

Seeing before Knowing

Donald L. Weisman, THE VIS-
UAL ARTS AS HUMAN EX-
PERIENCE, Prentice-Hall, $18.-
95.
By ELISSA EVETT
For all those souls who have
cultivated the habit of sneering
with disdain at the omnipresent,
uneducated museum-goer who
pronounces loudly to her com-
panion, "Well Blanche, I sure
don't know anything about art,
but at least I know what I like,"
but who, on the other hand,
realize deep-down that they
cannot describe their own re-
sponses to art in any more far-
reaching terms than these,
Prentice-Hall has just the book.
Entitled The visual Arts as Hu-
man Experience, the b o o k is
written by Donald L. Weisman,
an artist and teacher of the
arts at the University of Texas
whose dual role as creator and
critic grant him a two-fold au-
thority over his subject matter.
As the title implies, the au-
thor is concerned with locating
the visual arts in their human
and cultural contexts, and he
reminds the reader at various
times of this purpose: "For af-
ter all, that is one of our prin-
cipal aims: to know again that
the art of men is more than a
private, isolated concern unre-

lated to the life men lead in the
street, their meeting rooms,
their beds and their courts of
law." Although some scholars
in the discipline of art history
seem to have lost sight of this
fact in their involvement with
precise art historical problems,
most people engaged in the vis-
ual arts accept this as a basic
tenet. Thus, it is quite clear
that this book is directed to-
wards the curious, unenlighten-
ed initiate.
Weisman makes t h e begin-
ning venture into the realm of
visual arts a blissfully easy and
well-planned excursion. He pro-
ceeds in a systematic fashion
from the basic components that
make up visual language to the
more complicated questions of
how visual elements work to-
gether in s u c h conditions as
balance, cohesion, tension, and
illusion. He is extremely con-
scientious in his attempt to bind
visual experiences in art with
similar experiences in everyday
life. Thus, in reference to the
propensity for balance in the
visual arts, the reader recalls
his own experiences in regards
to the physical phenomenon of
gravity which h e1p s maintain
his own balance.
True to his subject, Weisman
relies heavily on visual means
to convey his ideas. Before dis-

cussing how different visual
principles function in their ar-
tistic settings, he first illustrates
their optical qualities by means
of simple and clearly instruc-
tive diagrams. Thus the strong-
ly felt but difficult to describe
properties of cohesion, tension,
and closure are strikingly illu-
minated by a series of simple
diamgrams involving the place-
ment of one or a few circles
within a square.
Weisman gives further prom-

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inence to visual material in his
extravagant display of illustra-
tions. Almost every painting
that he discusses in any detail is
shown in black and white im-
mediately adjacent as well as in
a full-page color plate of fine
quality. Occasionally, when his
treatment of a particular work
becomes rather lengthy, he will
even reproduce the black and
white illustration a second time
in order to save the reader the
slight inconvenience' of having
to flip a few pages back to refer
to the picture. This is truly
luxurious treatment even in the
world of expensive art books.
Weisman gears the level of
his discussion to a consistent
and complete image of his read-
er. He tones his material to an
even, elementary level, never
lapsing into unwarranted, over-
taxing material. Although there
are occasions of fresh insight,
for the most part his presenta-

tion follows the usual line of
interpretation of, for example,
as the key developments in at-
titudes about the creation of il-
lusory three dimensional space.
Occasionally he hints at alter-
native approaches but he un-
fortunately n e v e-r follows
through with substantial sup-
port for these approaches, e.g.:
"The history of art is less a
simple story of rejecting one
truth for another than it is a
comprehensive indication of the
changing demands for truth
that man's existence calls forth.
And although .no simple evolu-
tionary theory will suffice to
describe or explain the relation-
ships among t h e varieties of
truth called forth at different
times and places, still such re-
lations do exist."
As indicated by the lavish use
of illustrative material, Weis-
man's allegiance is to the realm
of the visual and the major
thrust of his opinions rallies
around the role of visual per-
ception. Thus, even though he
acknowledges the role of "out?
side" knowledge upon our com-
prehension of art objects, he
places more weight on the pow-
er of our visual faculties: "But
in the long run there is less
danger in risking our open sur-
render to the visual world than
there is in going about behind
an armored vision. The poverty
or richness of our concepts is
determined by the depth and
quality of our perceptions. Only
through an ever increasing per-
ceptual awareness can our con-
cepts and our whole conceptual
life attain to more than more
than mere adequacy in a word
that is forever ready to reveal
more of itself to us."
His other prevalent attitude
works in support of the "hu-
man experience" aspect of the
title; Weisman repeatedly em-
phasizes the meaning of the art
object in terms of its wide, hu-
man implications. In a chapter
on perspective, he prefaces his
technical examination of t h e
A principle of one point perspec-
tive as used in Leonardo's "Last
Supper," with a compelling de-
scription of the religious and
human impact of the event de-
picted. He then illustrates how,
the technique of perspective is
instrumental in propelling the
Student Book Service
NOW OPEN
EVENINGS
7:00-10:30
many nice books
1215 S. UNIVERSITY
761-0700
Open daytime beqinninq
June 22nd

b
0
0
k
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religious message as wel as sat-
isfying the desire for a consis-
tently realistic optical illusion.
Occasionally, Weisman's com-
pulsion to bring the reader's in-
dividual, human expericenes to
bear on works of art leads him
into some rather absurdanalo-
gies. The most uncalled-for and
downright embarrassing of these
instances occurs when he likens
the atmosphere of suspension
and pent-up energy found in
Rembrandt's magnificent etch-
ing "The Three Crosses" to the
feeling at the moment of the
ignition of a rocket missile. The
book suffers from other such
small mishaps, as well as from
occasional heavy passages lad-
en with needless repetitions
employed to belabor a particu-
lar point.
While supposedly this b o o k
woud not be -ef sustaining in-
terest to anyone who has tak-
en a decent a rt appreciation
course and who has done some
careful looking at visual art, it
would provide those who are
not exactly sure of the differ-
ence between value and inten-
sity, or between one point anc
two point perspective, with a
comprehensive, skillfully pre-
sented overview of the language
of visual arts.
Today's Writer ..
Cellist, horticulturist, leather-
worker, equestrian, and baker,
Elissa Evett received her M.A.
in Art History from the Univer-
sity of Michigan. She has
taught art appreciation and
Oriental Art at Kalamazoo Col-
lege and at the University of
Michigan, bearborn Campus.

-Associated Press
Safe, by a hair
Fort Knox barber John Vessels puts the finishing touches on a
haircut for ROTC cadet Chuck Burggraf, one of about 1600 stu-
dents entering a special ROTC summer program. The haircut is a
regulation for participating in the military session.
FIRE FROINES?
University of Oregon
to investigate teacher

------~~-

Ann Arbor Network reopens
to provide help via telephone

By DEBRA THAL
If you dial 769-6450 anytime
of the day or night, chances are
you'll feel better when you hang
up.
The number belongs to the
Ann Arbor Network, the newly
reopended switchboard-bulletin
board which operates strictly as
a public service.
The Network, operated by
Ozone House-a home for run-
aways, a counseling service and
community center scheduled to
open in mid-July-has informa-
tion on almost everything, and a
quick phone call to them can
provide:
-referrals for medical, legal,
psychiatric, drug, draft, religious
and personal problems;
-news on what is happening
around Ann Arbor;
-immediate help for any
emergency;
-contact with different or-
ganizations in Ann Arbor and
other cities;
--suggestions on coordinating
transportations for large events;
and
-short-term volunteer switch-
board facilities for other organ-
izations.
The Network is also a contact
point for Ozone House. Run-
aways who need a place to sleep
and eat or someone to talk to
can call 769-6450 to obtain in-
formation about interim hous-
ing and counseling services.
"We are solely a communica-
tions service; we are apolitical,"
says Eddie Grant, Network co-
ordinator.
Although the communication
service originally opened apart
from Ozone House early in
March, Grant says it fell apart
when the winter term ended
and many of the telephone oper-
ators left the area. Network re-
opened last week when Ozone
House took over managing re-
sponsibilities.
The switchboard is open from
10 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through
Friday, and from 5 p.m. to 2
a.m., Saturday and Sunday. Net-
work can be reached for in-
formation or help at 769-6540
or P.O. Box 420.
The Network also asks any-
one to call who has information
others may want to know.
Matinees

LAST FOUR DAYS
"SMASH S ~"-EWWE
"Meyer's unabashedly...luscious...best!"
Kevin Thomas-LA. TIMES

EUGENE, Oregon - (CPS)
Conservative state legislators
are mounting a large scale drive
to force the University of Oregon
to fireassistant professor of
chemistry John Froines, who
was found not guilty of con-
spiracy and inciting to riot
charges in the Chicago 8 trial.
Representative Safford Han-
sell says Froines "has given the
state of Oregon a real black eye"
and has demanded the profes-
sor's immediate dismissal. Pub-
lic support for Hansell's move
grew after Froines addressed an
audience of over 2,000 students
and called for a shutdown of all
universities next fall unless the
wear is over and Bobby Seale
and the New Haven Panthers
are freed.
University President Robert
Clark stated that because of the

"public outcry" he would launch
an investigation of Froines,
which will "operate something
like a grand jury." The questions
which will be explored, Clark
said, include "Did Dr. Froines
incite the students to violent
and disruptive action? If he ad-
vocated the closing of universi-
ties, what did he mean by 'clos-
ing'?
"The public should be reas-
sured," declared Clark. "that the
University will not submit tim-
idly to assault by those who
would destroy it or who would
interfere with its operations by
coercion or violence, whether
they be students or faculty."
Eves
6:25, 9:05 A 0

the
news
by The Associated Press am
BRAZILIAN OFFICIALS main
as they anxiously awaited some f
terrorists who kidnaped West Germs
Holleben Thursday night.
The abductors, who shot and k
and wounded another in taking the
the embassy residence, threw mime
saying the ambassador would be held
met their, demands, including releas
* *
SOVIET AMBASSADOR ANA'
Secretary of State Joseph J. Sisco
a series of discussions aimed at tr
settling the Arab-Israeli war.
Officials declined to say wheth
The appearance of Soviet pilots i
the discussion, officials said, but on
political issues.
* *
PENN CENTRAL CO. said y
have resigned.
The announcement came after a
of the financially-troubled railroad.
The announcement said Louis )
Corp. of Boston, had resigned as a d
Co. and Penn Central Transpotati
No reason was given for Cabot's r
The directors also announced t
to the New York law firm of Perki
John T. Dorrance Jr., chairman of th
ed their directorships of both rail con
prese
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CHICAGO
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Chicago Dodly News
A ROSS HUNTER Production
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HELEN HAYES - VAN HEFLIN- MAUREEN STAPLETON
BARRY NELSON - LLOYD NOLAN "*
DANA WYNTER. BARBARA HALE A
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Mon-Thur. 8:15
Fri, 6:30-10:00
Sat,1 :30
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RATING
NO ONE
UNDER 18
ADMITTED!

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SFIFTH AVENUE AT LIXERTY
DOWNTOWN ANN AR6UOR
INFORMIVATION 761-g700

SAT.-5:30, 6:50, 8:10, 9:30, 10:50
SUN.-5:30, 6:50, 8:10, 9:30
MON. and TUES.-6:50, 8:10, 9:30

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