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March 14, 2006 - Image 9

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-03-14

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Famed sculptor featured at Rackham

The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, March 14, 2006 - 9

By Abigail B. Colodner
For the Daily
The French poet Jacques Prevert fondly dubbed
20th-century sculptor and artist Alexander Calder
"an ogre with faerie's fingers."
A collaboration between the
two artists, each legendary in
his own right, is on display in Ftes:
"Fetes: Alexander Calder and Alexander
Jacques Prevert" in the Insti- Calder and
tute for the Humanities at the Jacques
Rackham building through Prevert
April 7. The exhibition, like all Thursdays
of the institute's events, is free and Fridays
and open to the public. 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The featured work is the and by
prose poem "Fetes," writ- appointment
ten by Prevert in praise of Now through
Calder, with whom he shared April 7
a sensibility of immediacy and Free
wonder and whose abstract At Rackham
prints accompany the poet's
text. The work is peculiar in
that the exact nature of their collaboration is
obscure, despite the book's relatively recent cre-
ation in 1971. But the genre-bending ambiguity
that characterizes the exhibition is the institute's
modus operandi.
"We aim to push the envelope of the humani-
ties, to take this vast city of the University and

use it, bring its parts together in new ways," said
Danny Herwitz, director of the institute.
The intimate exhibition showcases the artists'
innovative forays into several different forms of
media. For Prevert, these were poetry and screen-
writing. The work of Prevert, whose "Paroles"
remains the bestselling volume of poetry in
France to this day, can be seen in the book
"Fetes" and in free screenings of
two of his movies. Calder's visual
art that dominates the exhibition; "I think w
his color-saturated prints, figural .
line drawings, metalwork and there is a
a brief video of his mechanicalp r
works in motion. perIorma
The free and interdisciplinary is more i
exchange of ideas so apparent in
"Fetes" embodies the institute's between
guiding principle. LSA senior
Makael Burrell spoke enthusias- and the a
tically of the institute, where he
does his work-study.
"When I come in for work, I -
feel like I'm no longer in a bub-
ble," he said.
The Institute houses fellows
- scholars, researchers and staff all from diver-
gent academic backgrounds - for year-long peri-
ods in which they respond to and build upon one
another's works-in-progress.
In this spirit of synergy, the Institute's events
are coordinated with other events on campus
and in the local community. A recent exhibition,


"Testing," stemmed from the theme semester
"Evolution" - paintings that, as the audience
views them, fade in the light.
"(Calder's) work seems timeless to me, and I
think it's because he found these essential shapes,"
said Elizabeth Hutton Turner, senior curator of
the Phillips Collection in Washington D.C., in a
public lecture preceding the exhibition's opening.
Calder's best-known works
are his mobiles: monumental,
vhen suspended metal structures.
Moving gently in the air, they
isense of are anything but grounded.
ince, there His prints on display recall
the transcendent success of
nteraction his mobiles. His shapes are
abstract, spare and flat, but the
the viewer simple forms seem to undulate
and the deeply saturated color
art." lends depth to the images.
Elisabeth Paymal, curator
of the exhibit, describes these
Elisabeth Paymal "kinetic" shapes as having a
Exhibit curator quality that sets Calder apart
from other visual artists: "I
think when there is a sense of
performance, there is more interaction between
the viewer and the art - if we are just told 'There
is movement,' we are left out."
The opportunity to view some of the great art-
ist's strongest work, and to enjoy Prevert's writ-
ing in screenings of two of his movies, is not to
be missed.

Courtesy of the Institute for the Humanities
Patrons visit the "Fetes" exhibit, running now through April 7 at Rackham.

on film
By Michelle Zellors
Daily Arts Writer
Just months after his surgery for a brain
aneurysm, folk rocker Neil Young pre-
miered his album
Prairie Wind in a
heartfelt moment at Neil Young:
Nashville's Ryman Heart of Gold
Auditorium. Watch- At the Michigan
ing the close-ups Theater
of Young and his Paramount classics
famous accompa-
nists in the new film
"Neil Young: Heart of Gold" puts viewers
in the Ryman's best seats.
Filming the two-night event in one
seamless piece, director Jonathan Demme
("The Manchurian Candidate") allows
Young's music to encapsulate the atten-
tion of the audience. Fans of Young will
appreciate "Heart of Gold's" unwavering
focus on the musicians, completely void
of audience pans, narration and distract-
ing interjections.
Throughout his career, Young has
experimented with genres such as swing
and electronica and has mocked notable
public figures with edgy lyrics. Prairie
Wind, however, features many calmer,
lyrically simple ballads representative
of his folk roots. The music remains
rich in instrumental variety, using brass
and string instruments, piano, har-
monica and both acoustic and electric
guitar. Wife Pegi Young, country singer
Emmylou Harris and others accompany
the artist on stage.
Nearing age 60 at the August 2005
concert, Young clearly shows his years.
He inserts anecdotes between songs
about dealing with his father dying and
his daughter growing up, characterizing
"Here For You" as an "empty nester's
song." While Young's stories remain light-
hearted and resonate with aging baby-
boomer fans, his quiet themes of loss, love
and family echo the personal battle with
illness Young faced when he wrote the
"Prairie Wind" songs last year.
The film closes with a few songs from
previous albums including "Old Man"
and the audience favorite "Heart of Gold,"
rather than any words from the artist him-
self. The movie lacks behind-the-scenes
footage and limits interviews to a few
insubstantial comments made by Young
and several other musicians on the way to
the show. "Heart of Gold" doesn't turn out
to be the expected artist portrait; it never
provides a view into Young's career on the
whole. Those not very familiar with the
musician might lose interest in the narrow
focus and crave more offstage scenes with
Young to set the movie apart from concert
recordings that go straight to DVD.
Still, the portrayal of a single, memora-
ble event will be enough to satisfy Young's
more avid followers and folk fans in gen-
eral. "Heart of Gold's" straightforward
presentation is fitting for Young's unpre-
tentious style, and the singer's anecdotes
about an emotionally taxing time in his
life are brief but telling.
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