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March 17, 1987 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1987-03-17

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ARTS
Tuesday, March 17, 1987

"he Michigan Daily

Page 5

Rape-themed art exhibit hits Slusser

13y Charles Oestreicher
On Sunday, the School of Art's
Slusser Gallery presented an exhibit
titled Rape: Images and Issues, a
colleciton of 36 works "focusing on
a social issue that has long been
silenced." The exhibit, originating
at the Ohio State University's
.Gallery of Fine Art, has toured the
country since the fall of 1985.
Ann Arbor is the only place in
.Michigan it will be displayed, and
every student on campus should
make time to go to North Campus
and see it. This is not to say the
show will be enjoyable; actually, it
is most likely to elicit feelings of
everything but happiness. All
things considered, though, a single
collection so small in size yet so
thoroughly shocking and traumatic
to look at demands attention. It is
impossible to view this show with
indifference, for whether or not you
agree with the artist's intent, these
pieces do not just hang on the wall;
they come off and shake you
y.iolently. The rattling viewers are

likely to feel upon seeing this
collection is that of stereotypes and
conventional wisdom and attitudes
towards our whole enviornment
being brutally assaulted by the
graphic images on dispaly.
Subtletly does not play a role in
these works, but there is nothing
subtle about rape, either.
The images on display were
executed in a variety of media,
many utilizing two and three
dimensional componenets. Found
objects also play role in several of
the pieces. Painting, photographs,
sculptures, and words all combine
to portray the agony of rape victims
and the insensitivity of a society
which these artists feel accepts and,
often times, promotes rape. The
most effective images in the show
are those which graphically depict
rape in real-world setting. Notable
are Pat Ralph's "Incident at Snake
River Canyon" and Paul Marcus's
"Rape on the Roof." These images
confront the viewer to the point of
making he or she feel

uncomfortable.
Several of the pieces use
distorted or cartoon images to
convey their message with varied
degrees of sucess. For instance, the
simplicity and starkness of Ida
Applebroog's "Mercy Hospital," a
scene involving a male doctor

including newspaper clippings and
other examples of rape and the
media. Throughout the exhibit, it
seems that words are as intrinsic as
images to the message.
Other prevalent themes are those
of the inner defenses used to
rationalize rape and the weapons

It is impossible to view this show with indifference,
for whether or not you agree with the artist's intent,
these pieces do not just hang on the wall; they come
off and shake you violently.

victims encountered afterwards. One
of the portraits, of a woman who
was raped three times, includes
bloody razor blades as representative
of her suicide attempts. It is
difficult but necessary to look at
things like this in the show.
This unique exhibit is genuinely
tough to look at, and deal with
afterwards. The feeling it stirs are
dark and forbidding; viewers may
experience guilt, fear, doubt,
loathing and despair upon seeing
these works. This is an exhibit
which shakes human sensibilities at
their foundation, and in response,
some may accuse these 19 artists of
"harboring anti-male feelings,
creating militant feminist
propaganda, and using blatantly
graphic images merely for their
shock value.
The true purpose of this exhibit,
though, seems not just to shock
but to shock those who see it into
initiating change in the society and
culture.
Among the underlying themes of

humiliation, subjugation and pain
is the understated but powerful
hope, of the artists and the victims
(who in some cases in this show
are one and the same), that through
such painful work can come about
awareness, understanding, and
eventually improvements. In that
these works are not only intended as
art pieces but also message
regarding an important social issue,
they are somewhat above criticism
on conventional levels. Because
their message is so direct, it is that
which criticism of the work must
primarlily acknowledge. Like it or
hate it, Rape: Images and Issues is
powerful certainly one of those few
cultual events which is a real "must
see."
The exhibit is open Monday
'through Friday from 10 a.m.-Sp.m,
and on weekends from 1-4 p.m.,
until March 29. It is being
presented in conjuction with the
University's Rape Awareness
Week, and admission is free.

fondling a woman patient, works,
while Deannie Pass's gaily painted
and bitingly sarcastic mixed-media
sculptures may be hard for many
people to take seriously when
viewed along with the rest of the
collection.
Collages also make up a sizable
protion of the exhibit, some

used to commit the act. Helen
Manyelsdorf's "Rape Group"
combines these images and themes
to create a work of undeniable pain.
It is simply a groups of portaits of
rape victims, and next to each
portrait are found objects which
symbolize circumstances of the
actual rapes or problems the

'Miss Mary': How anxiety and passion grow

By Dana Meisner
Miss Mary, the story of a
governess to a wealthy, powerful
family is initially reminiscent of a
South American Mary Popp ins
remake. But the accompanying
politics make this a powerful
statement about government and
HENRY
RUSSEL
LECTU]R E
FOR 1986-87
Philip E.
Converse
Robert Cooley Angell
Distinguished University
Professor of Sociology
and Political Science
"PERSPECTIVES
ON THE
DEMOCRATIC
PROCESS"
TUESDAY,
March 17, 1987
RACKHAM
AMPHITHEATRE

society.
Set in Buenos Aires in the
1930's, the movie covers the reign
of Peron and the unrest during his
imprisonment. Miss Mary
Mulligan arrives from England as
governess, to the children of a
powerful Argentine official. Only,
she finds herself surrounded by a
corrupt father, an unstable mother,
two senile grandparents, and three

battle-scarred kids.
Miss Mary clearly says that
'childhood is golden' until adults
insist on starting wars and screwing
things up. So, unavoidably the kids
lose their innocence as one daughter
is forced into an unhappy marraige
to save her honor, and the other
-types endless pages from
phonebooks in order to save her
sanity.

Somehow, everyone is
frustrated, especially the senoras, as
they all end up either crazy or
miserable trying to conform to the
guidelines of Argentine society.
The theme song, ironically, is
"'Ain't She Sweet."
Julie Christie is thoroughly con -
vincing as we see her both as a

controlled and proper governess and
as a woman of passion. Somehow
we believe it when and the family's
only son confess their love for each
other.
There are many underlying
messages here in a sometimes
disjointed and definately
unchronological order, but once you

It

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A Landscape of Three
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Professor Ken Helphand, Head of the School of
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Hillel Auditorium (1429 Hill. Street)

sort it out, it all fits together into a
disturbing messages about the
conformity of the time.
An added bonus is Miguel Rod -
riguez's beautiful photography of
the Argentine countryside.
All in all, these factors join
together to make Miss Mary a
thouroughly worthwhile.
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Goethe: Faust
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Peter France
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Robin Kirkpatrick
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