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September 26, 2003 - Image 5

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2003-09-26

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Septemnber 26, 2003
artseditor@michigandaily. com



Notorious family history fills art museum

By Lynn Hasselbarth
Daily Arts Writer

On Sunday the University of
Michigan Museum of Art unveiled an
exclusive exhibition of European art
collected by Russia's legendary, yet
notorious royal family. The exhibit
emphasizes the diverse artistic tastes

and political goals
of the Romanov
family, standing
as the core of the
University's six-
month celebration
of St. Petersburg.
"The exhibit
tells the story of
the Romanov's

November 23rd
UM Museum of Art

Russian tsar, Nicholas II, represent-
ing over 300 years of art collecting.
Through their extensive pursuit of
art, the Romanovs sought to elevate
Russia in the world and create a com-
manding sense of national identity.
Peter the Great (1682-1725) estab-
lished this trend with the founding of
St. Petersburg in 1703. As the
nation's new and revived capital city,
St. Petersburg became a center of cul-
tural and political prestige.
Catherine the Great secured the con-
nection between art and politics. As a
true Enlightenment monarch, her artis-
tic tastes gravitated toward neo-classi-
cism, a style that conjured up visions of
ancient Greece and Rome. In the first
gallery, paintings of Greek goddesses
and Roman architecture depict the
height of Greek civilization. Cather-
ine's political goal was thus to create an
image of rational democracy, while in
reality she lead a highly centralized and
dictatorial government.
While such paintings attempted to
legitimize Catherine's somewhat
autocratic government, art was also
used to assert Russia's military status.
Catherine persistently acquired the
art collections of other western pow-
ers as a means of belittling her politi-
cal opponents. France was most
consistently humiliated as Russia
purchased many of Napoleon's col-
lections after the French Revolution.
The exhibit displays a suite of four
French paintings collected by

Courtesy o
I don't have a pot to piss In or a window to throw it out. All I got Is Floyd.

personal relationship to collecting. It
is a narrative of nationalism seen
through a visually compelling experi-
ence," states museum art curator
James Steward.
On loan from the State Hermitage
Museum in St. Petersburg, this
diverse exhibit displays 140 works of
art including painting, sculpture,
ceramics and porcelain, as well as
tapestry and furniture. French, Eng-
lish, Dutch and German works are
displayed, representing artists of both
the Romantic and Enlightenment
movements. The exhibit tracks the
family in chronological order from
Peter the Great to the last surviving

Nicholas II that depict the private life
of Napoleon. While this represents
Russia's military pride, it also uncov-
ers a certain obsession with France's
leading monarch. Nicholas' prefer-
ence toward more personal and pri-
vate scenes represents his overall
discomfort with world politics.
The distinction between public
endeavors and private life is evident
throughout the exhibit. Much like a
private gallery, the collection displays
selected pieces rather than a massive
presentation. This layout is reminis-
cent of the original hermitage, a suite
of private rooms used by Catherine to
display her pieces to prominent digni-
taries. While the expanding Romanov

collection was meant to foster nation-
al pride and political competence, the
Imperial Hermitage remained closed
to the public for most of the
Romanov dynasty.
Steward describes this ultimate
paradox: "The uneasy tension with-
in the royal family grew out of a
desire to be of their time and
acknowledge democratic values
amidst a fundamental distrust of the
people. Nonetheless, this exhibit
seeks to humanize a complex and
tragic family history."
For further information on the
exhibit and a schedule of events for
the St. Petersburg Festival visit

Sunday's new
line-up tackles
rivals, Pontiac
By Sean Dailey
Daily Arts Writer

"We try to play exactly the same if there's 5,000 people or
10," says Adam Lazzara, lead singer of Long Island's Taking
Back Sunday, about the band's recent success. Four yearm
ago, they were only a thought in the head of ex-Movielife
guitarist Eddie Reyes. But after the ______________
release of their 2002 debut Tell All Your T
Friends and a slot on the main stage of Taking BaCk
this year's Warped Tour, the band Sunday
seemed poised to take over the indie Saturday and
scene with a unique blend of east coast Sunday at 5 p.m.
hardcore and pop sensibility. At Clutch Cargos
Then rumors of a break-up started Clear Channel
flying. In the midst of it all, the band
was forced to cancel most of its Warped shows for per-
sonal reasons. When they finally emerged to play the last
few dates of the tour, they had replaced guitarist/vocalist
John Nolan and bassist Shaun Cooper on less than ami-
able terms. Still tight lipped about the circumstances sur-
rounding the restructuring, the band now seems to be
back on top of things.
"At first we were really apprehensive about bringing
new guys in," says Lazzara. "But it's seemed to work really

Courtesy of Victory Records
Now, what about Tuesdays?
well so far. I can't remember a time when I've seen every-
body this happy."
Then there's the supposed feud with fellow east coasters
Brand New. The bands, while old friends, have had a some-
what love/hate relationship as of late. Both take stabs at each
other from time to time. TBS's song "There's No I in Team"
and Brand New's "Seventy Times 7" share some of the same
lyrics about lost friendships, further clouding the waters.
Brand New even went as far to release a series of shirts read-
ing, "Microphones are for singing, not swinging," a clear
shot at Lazzara's onstage antics. But is this just an Andy
Kaufman/Jerry Lawler style farce or actual animosity?
"Gossip sells T-shirts," explains Lazzara. "Most of the
stuff on those Internet sites is just rumors. There were two
versions of the same song, their record just happened to
come out before ours. But they were written at the same
time." Lazzara also dispelled the rumor that their band name
was taken from a Smiths' b-side. "It's absolutely false. When
we started doing interviews, we just started making up
answers to keep it interesting."
Taking Back Sunday are just glad to be back out on the
road in such good company. "Saves the Day is a band that I
would pay to go see, but instead I just walk to the back of
the stage every night and watch their set," says Lazzara.
Catch both bands with opener Moneen this Saturday and
Sunday at Clutch Cargo's in Pontiac and Monday at the
MSU Auditorium in East Lansing.

CBS's Joan
of Arcadia'
is no saint
For the Daily
Obviously a network is deteriorating
when it turns to God - literally. Unfor-
tunately, CBS's prayers for a perfect
new drama aren't answered. "Joan of
Arcadia" is an unsuccessful mixture of

crime TV, family
school special.
Joan (Amber
Tamblyn) is a
rebellious 16-year-
old in a typical
"7th Heaven" fam-
ily. Younger know-
it-all brother Luke

drama and after-
Joan of
Fridays at
8 p.m.

Crime on the rise with fall season's four new investigative series

(Michael Welch) is offset by sarcastical-
ly bitter and recently paralyzed Kevin
(Jason Ritter). Joan's father Will (Joe
Mantegna) is a hard-nosed cop, while
her hyper-emotional mother, Helen
(Mary Steenburgen), occupies herself
feeling sorry for her crippled son.
Where the show goes terribly
wrong is that it boasts God as a char-
acter who comes to earth in the form
of a "really hot guy," pursuing Joan
like a lovesick puppy and cracking
constant quips such as, "It's called
omniscience, look it up."
Lack of clarity exaggerates the show's
poor character development and flat act-
ing, sentencing CBS to family-drama
purgatory. Scenes haphazardly jump
from one genre of television to another,
leaving the audience stranded.
Tamblyn ("The Ring") is certainly no
Joan of Arc. Face to face with God, "Is it
kinda weird that I have a crush on you?"
is the only question she can muster.
As the show progresses and more
strange men appear in Joan's life with
no apparent connection, a dull Will half-
heartedly attempts to protect his daugh-
ter and figure out "what's going on."
Funny, so is everyone else.

By Melissa Runstrom
Daily Arts Writer
This fail season the networks are
unleashing a slew of new crime series,
hoping one will catch your eye. With
so many similar shows out there, will
any be unique or interesting? Or is a
unique crime show just an oxymoron
these days?
"Cold Case" - Jerry Bruck-
heimer's latest CBS entrant tries to be
innovative and comes off as ordinary.
Kathryn Morris stars as the only
female detective in Philadelphia's
homicide unit, assigned to solve old
abandoned cases. The show uses gen-
der as a way to give itself an interest-
ing edge, but never quite accomplishes
this aim.
"10-8" - ABC's only contestant in
to the crime game follows a rookie's
first year exploits working for the Los
Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
Unlike most cop dramas, this one isn't
afraid to laugh at itself. With a likable
S. . 0 N

cast, the producers would be smart to
focus more on the strong personal
character interactions than the stereo-
typical cop action sequences.
"Navy NCIS" - Leroy Gibbs
(Mark Harmon, "Chicago Hope")
heads a naval criminal investigative
service team that is called in to work
cases involving navy or marine per-
sonnel. Harmon is flawless and the
"CSI" in-name-only drama shows
potential, but the outcome remains
unsurprisingly mediocre with it des-
tined to live out its days under
"JAGs"'s encompassing shadow.
"The Handler" - The concept of
an undercover investigative team isn't
particularly original, but the plot is well
written and engaging enough to make

"The Handler" an appealing fast-paced
drama. Joe Renato (Joe Pantoliano, a
recent Emmy winner for "The Sopra-
nos") leads his team through a series of
unrelated tasks with Renato himself as
the only connection. Pantoliano, being
short and unattractive, is an unlikely
lead but pulls off the roll with ease and
might have finally found himself a star-
making vehicle.
Crime programs haven't evolved
much in the past 30 years. They're
implementing forensic science, but

this tech angle is already over used.
CBS' "Cold Case" and "Navy NCIS"
share too much in common with each
other and existing dramas to warrant a
second glance, and "10-8" too often
plays on common themes and devices.
If series could succeed solely on qual-
ity, which we all know doesn't happen
(How else do you explain the continu-
ation of shows like "Joe Million-
aire?"), then "The Handler" would be
the most likely of the four to survive.
Ultimately you, the viewer, will
decide their fate.

Crime Show Mania
Cold Cas 10-8
Sundays at Sundays at
8 p.m.
Navy NCIS The
Tuesdays at H andler
8 p.m. Fridays at 14 p . .

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