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September 21, 1998 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 1998-09-21

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The Michigan Daily - Monday, September 21, 1998 -9A
4ational gallery's van Gogh exhibit to draw crowd

he Washington Post
WASHINGTON -There is a den-
tst in France who will paint a van
Gogh reproduction on your front
teeth if you want. A French cook
fsiions copies of van Gogh's paint-
sin sugar, and is gradually mak-
ghis way through the entire oeu-
v. Knitters turn the paintings into
Weaters, craftsmen make them into
iosaics, profiteers program paint
achines to duplicate van Gogh's
painstaking brush strokes.
Vincent van Gogh and his art have
spawned a vast industry of worship
and imitation - reams of books and
articles, movies, plays, songs,
poems, Web sites, T-shirts, puzzles
deven a "Great Artist Series"
0ne doll dressed in a sunflower.
.igaims travel to weep in the room
where he died in Auvers-sur-Oise,
France, and leave ashes and memen-
tos at his nearby grave. There is a Pin
the Ear on van Gogh game; a mug
with a detachable handle shaped like
an car. Van Gogh can arguably also
be held responsible for the glut of
sunflowers that decorated everything
@m hair clips to wastebaskets a few
seasons ago.
It is partly as a result of van Gogh
mania that an exhibit of paintings
from the Van Gogh Museum in
Amsterdam is coming to the
National Gallery Oct. 4 to Jan. 3,
offering this city a chance to experi-
ence its own version of the madness.
Osmonds
bring '70s
to '90s TV
Los Angeles Times
$1 OLLYWOOD -They may be a lit-
t e too long in the tooth to sing "Puppy
Love" and "Paper Roses," but Donny
and Marie Osmond don't seem much
different from their days as the clean-cut
teen-age siblings on the '70s ABC musi-
cl-variety series "Donny and Marie."
Now, 19 years after the series' demise,
the pair are throwing their hats and well-
known smiles into the talk-show ring
with a new weekday entry, "Donny &
-rie," which is being syndicated
und the country. Both Donny and
Marie, who still love to tease each other,
have had enduring single careers.
Performing since he was 3 years old
with the Osmond Brothers, Donny later
had great success on the legit stage,
touring for several years in "Joseph and
the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat."
This summer he was the singing voice
of Shang in "Mulan." Donny, 40, is the
Oer of five sons.
Marie, 38, and the mother of six, also
has branched out into the world of musi-
cal comedy, touring in "The Sound of
Music" and starring on Broadway in
"The King and I." She also appeared in
tlie ABC sitcom "Maybe This Time" and
sells her line of Marie Osmond Fine
Porcelain Collector Dolls at Disney
Theme Parks and on QVC. She also is
co-founder of the Children's Miracle
Network, which has raised $1.4 billion
we 1983 for medical treatment,
research and assistance at children's hos-
pitals.
Brother and sister talked on the phone
from Philadelphia,just one of their stops
in a nationwide promotion tour.
Q: Have you both worked together a
lot since "Donny and Marie" went off
the air?
Donny: Not really. We did some tour-

a little bit.
arie: It will be about 20 years since
we worked together.
Q: So what's it like reuniting after two
decades?
Donny: It was actually quite interest-
ing that everything justjust kind of came
back together. The chemistry we had
back in the '70s just immediately
popped back into place.
Marie: It's a very unique relationship
when you have a sibling relationship
ause you can go places with your
ether or sister that you never could
with a co-host or a host or even if you
are married (to the host).
Q: How did the talk show happen?
Donny: This whole concept isn't new
to us. We've been approached ever since
we ended the "Donny and Marie" show
to do something, whether it be another
series or specials. The timing just didn't
f9l right. Marie and I wanted to pursue
own thing. Now that we have done
that, the timing just feels really good.
Columbia TriStar - their support of the
show - and particularly with Dick
Clark as our executive producer, it just
felt right.
Q: Can you talk about the format~of
the~ cVhoi9

The National Gallery has already
dispensed nearly 215,000 advance
passes, and expects heavy demand
for the 1,800 to 2,300 additional
tickets to be released every morning
during the exhibition. Even scalpers
have gotten into the act, selling the
free tickets for as much as S50 for
opening day.
"We don't usually do art exhibits,"
said Danny Matta, the owner of
Great Seats Inc., a ticket brokerage
in College Park, Md. "But many of
our regular clients wanted them. This
is basically a service for people who
don't want to wait in line."
"Surveys have shown that van
Gogh is the most recognized artist in
the world," said Eric Jackson of
Anderson Consulting, which is
underwriting the exhibition for a sum
he would not disclose. That recogni-
tion appeals to the Fortune 500
CEOs and CFOs who are his compa-
ny's main clients, Jackson said of the
decision to sponsor the show.
Monique Hageman of the Van
Gogh Museum says the artist's appeal
is "because of the letters he wrote. So
we know a lot more of him than of
other painters of his time. Everybody
wants to make a romantic life of what
we know of him from his letters."
Built to accommodate 60,000 visi-
tors a year, the 25-year-old Van Gogh
Museum has been attracting more
than 15 times as many. With a single
elevator and one staircase, viewers

face long lines, especially during the
summer season, when tourists come
in droves.
"A million people a year, and toilet
facilities designed for 60,000,"
museum spokeswoman Marjelle van
Hoorn said.
Because it must close for eight
months to complete renovations
prompted by this popularity, the
museum (which was started by van
Gogh's nephew, the son of his
beloved brother Theo) agreed to loan
70 of its 200 paintings to the National
Gallery.
Van Gogh mania perhaps reached
its height in 1990, when "Portrait of
Dr. Gachet" was sold at auction to a
Japanese paper magnate for a record
$82.5 million. That sale occurred 100
years after the impecunious artist
died, shortly after painting the picture
of his homeopathic physician, a man
he thought sicker than himself.
Given the vicissitudes of the art
market, however, it is best to consid-
er the value of the collection coming
here as "priceless." Security will be
extremely tight. Van Gogh has the
dubious distinction of being among
those artists who have been the target
of art thieves and insane desecrators.
The National Gallery will have its
share of memorabilia for sale - 64
items ranging from 50-cent post-
cards to a S139 vase, all of which
have been approved by the Van Gogh
Museum as suitably tasteful. The

profits go toward subsidizing the
gallery's publications.
In its more-virulent forms, van Gogh
mania goes way beyond 50-cent post-
cards.
"It's a peculiar global community of
enthusiasts that all share the same kind
of fever," said David Brooks, a
Canadian computer expert who
maintains the Website wwwvangogh-
gallerym conc.
"There is something indescribable
that possesses you ... the majority of
people, you couldn't show them a
Vermeer and they would know what
it is. But you show them 'Starry
Night' or 'Bedroom' and they know
who he is. Why are people so fasci-
nated with Elvis or James Dean'? It's
the tragic flavor to their story ... It
touches people."
"Lust for Life" is just one of more
than 85 feature films and documen-
t- - -

taries about van Gogh from 19 coun-
tries, according to Kees Pinxteren in
"The Mythology of Van Gogh." They
range from fictionalized dramas to
Dadaist parodies to a one-minute
humorous exegesis in Dutch called
"The Bedroom." Van Gogh has
inspired scores of novels, biographies
and critiques, as well as sappy poetry.

Painters, from the prominent to
retirees copying postcards, have imi-
tated or interpreted him for decades.
Perhaps the most dedicated van
Gogh worshippers are those who
travel to the many places he lived in
the Netherlands, England, Belgium
and France. It can take two weeks to
visit all the sites in Holland alone.

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