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October 08, 2009 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-10-08

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Thursday, October 8, 2009 - 3B

Roman's holiday

Gustave Le Gray's 1865 photo The Beach at Sainte-Adresse is one of the objects on display in "Lens of Impressionism.'

Lasting impressions

UMMA's newest exhibit
highlights artists like
Monet and Degas
Daily Arts Writer
An anonymous figure stands alone on a
beach, dwarfed by the
immense landscape Lens of
spread out in front of
him. The sky is a hazy, Impressionism
dreamy blue. Pellucid Saturday
water streaks across through Jan. 3
the expanse of rich At UMMA
golden sand, as mist
sweeps over the scene.
This is the setting for James Abbott
McNeill Whistler's Sea and Rain, the paint-
ing that sparked the idea for the exhibit
"The Lens of Impressionism: Photography
and Painting Along the Normandy Coast,
1850-1874." As a signature piece of the
museum's collection, the Whistler served
as the starting point for the exhibition and
its many avenues of inquiry. A seascape
painted in a chic French coastal town, Sea
and Rain will be surrounded by paintings
and photographs with similar motifs, all
the works depicting the coast of Normandy
in the second half of the 19th century.
The exhibit, however, contains more
than just various depictions of the stylish,
romantic coast of France, and it's not just an
assortment of pictures of far-off sailboats
or waves crashing on cliffs. This exhibi-
tion's narrow chronological focus marks
a specific time and place where exciting
things were happening in the art world.
Between 1850 and 1874, Normandy was
a hotbed of artistic activity. Sweeping
changes in the world - technological, com-
mercial and artistic - merged together to
create a new kind of art. Photography and
painting participated in a dialogue that
became the artist's response to a brave
new modern world. With three inventions,
the art world in the region developed into
something irrevocably different.

"Our notion of speed - of how things
moved - was suddenly and abruptly
changed," said Carole McNamara, the cura-
tor of the exhibition. "This trio of inven-
tions - the railroad, the camera and the
telegraph - collapsed time in a way that
had been completely unthinkable before
these inventions, and it was as completely
overturning to earlier assumptions as the
Internet has been for our time. It was their
huge thing to adapt to."
With the rise of the rail line, the tourism
industry accelerated in places like the coast
of Normandy. Resort towns became stomp-
ing grounds not only for the fashionable
bourgeoisie, but for great photographers
and painters who came to capture the way
light danced on the water. Photographers
explored the new medium, making innova-
tions that inspired many aspects of early
"The consideration of photography was
influencing both how painters were see-
ing and how they were depicting what they
were seeing," McNamara said.
Techniques like unique forms of crop-
ping or framing often popped up in early
Impressionist paintings, adding to the ser-
endipitous feel that's infused in this type of
art. Painting adapted to confront this new,
faster-moving world.
"It involves this instantaneity, which
in photography meant arresting motion
so you don't get blurs," McNam'ara said.
"Transferred to painting, it means captur-
ing something that might seem incidental.
It feels accidental. But it isn't."
Many pieces in the exhibit are on loan
from Paris's Musde d'Orsay and Biblio-
theque nationale de France. The likes of
Gustave Courbet, Edouard Monet, Edgar
Degas and Claude Monet will be repre-
sented, along with photographers Gustave
Le Gray and Henri Le Secq. These familiar
names will be accompanied by some lesser-
known artists to present a thorough sur-
vey of the art movement in this period and
"A wonderful thing about the Biblio-
theque nationale's loans is that (they) will
introduce to American audiences photog-

raphers who we have no idea about, artists
who are completely unknown over here,"
McNamara said.
Ephemera from the time period, like
souvenirs from the 1868 World's Fair, will
be displayed as well to give spectators
a sense of what life was like back then.
Scattered throughout the exhibit will be
several comparisons, including paintings
and photographs side by side to show the
intertwining motifs and styles, as well as
academic paintings that set the standard
of the day placed next to the Impressionist
works to show just how shocking this new
type of art could be and must have been at
the time.
"It's easy to forget how outrageous
Impressionist painting was, because it's
become so comfortable and familiar to us,"
McNamara said.
But next to the glossy finish of Salon
paintings, it's clear why the seemingly tame
images of fishing villages and squally skies
caused such a stir. The works in the exhibi-
tion exemplify the free and loose style that
first earned the moniker "Impressionism,"
which was originally tagged onto Monet's
Impression Sunrise with more than a hint
of derision. This format recalls the upset.
accompanying this then-new art form -
one that is commonplace and extremely
marketable today.
Throughout October and November,
there will also be a wide array of programs
to accompany the exhibition for those on the
lookout for more. Three lectures, includ-
ing one by McNamara, go along with the
themes and issues raised by the collection.
Two musical programs are planned as well,
featuring music evoking similar qualities to
Impressionism and music from contempo-
raries of the Impressionists. Lastly, those
inspired by Courbet's La Vague can even
create their own
seascape paint-
ing in a workshop
called "Seascapes:
Exploring the
Horizon." "Lens
of Impressionism"
runs until Jan. 3.

t's official, fashionistas: Lindsay
Lohan is now a seasoned runway
model. Or at least that's the new-
est failed career
trajectory for the
deluded Alcoholics
Anonymous graduate.
Lohan's roles in such
critically acclaimed
bombs as "I Know -
Who Killed Me"
weren't able to cover SASHA
her coke tab and colla- MESENDE
gen injections, so she's
now lookingto spread her dubious sense
of style across the glob.
The failed actress recently strutted on
the Paris Spring/Summer 2010 catwalk
for the Spanish line Emanuel Ungaro,
which recently hired Lohan as its new
creative director. Whoever thought this
Hollywood hot mess has what it takes
to create innovative new looks for a
European clientele needs to put down
the Grey Goose, fast. The newly debuted
line - which was equal parts neon
overkill and back-alley trashiness - was
universally panned by the hoity-toity
European fashion press. Sorry Lindz,
you may want to focus on strengthening
the tacky leggings line you already have
in the United States while you attempt
to get your shit together.
Lilo's atrocious new fashion line isn't
the only American-generated debacle
that has left the French up in arms. n
route to the ZurichFglmn Festival, direc-
tor Roman Polanski was recently nabbed
by the Swiss po-po, cuttingshort plans
to accept a lifetime achievement award
for his Oscar-winning work. Polanksi
has been evading authorities since the
1970s, when he ran off to France, where
he's a citizen, to avoid sentencing on
allegations that he raped a 13-year-old
model. Turns out sex crimes don't have
an expiration date, even when the perp
directed "Chinatown."
While Polanski sits in Swiss custody
awaiting extradition to the United
States, an array of Hollywood hotshots
have come out in favor of the director,
including, of all people, Woody Allen.
Now I loved "Annie Hall" as much as
the next neurotic wannabe New Yorker,
but I don't think that Allen - who
caused a stir of his own when he wed
his own former girlfriend's adopted
daughter - is the person you want on
your side when you're facing child sex
charges. Just some food for thought,
The ensuing media spectacle
spawned by Polanski's arrest proves one
thing hasn't changed since the 1970s:
Americans love themselves a good, old-
fashioned sex scandal. Thankfully, the
scandal-craving blogosphere was tossed
another bone last week when late-night
talking head David Letterman admit-
ted on air that a CBS News producer
extorted him for $2 million. The produc-
er allegedly had proof that Letterman
had - oops! - slept with subordinate
Regardless of whether employer-em-
ployee sexual arrangements are unethi-
cal or just plain creepy, it's definitely
going to be a whole lot more awkward
now whenever Letterman tries to skew-
er politicians for their own sexual dalli-
ances. Letterman has made a career out

of raking public figures over the coals,
hitting a high point during the Monica
Lewinsky proceedings. Somewhere in
rural Alaska, Sarah Palin - who recent-
ly got into a very public dispute with the
comic after he made crude jokes at the
expense of Palin's knocked-up teenage
daughter - is gleefully eating up this lat-
est media shitstorm.
As entertaining as celebrity sex
scandals can be, it's time to move on
to another much-discussed dimension
of celebreality: relationships! Whether
dating, mating or hastily entering ill-
thought-out unions that will be annulled
before the year's end, you can always
rely on our favorite celebrities to allow
us mere mortals to feel a little bit better
about our own dating woes.
The latest celebritard to walk down
the aisle is Khloe Kardashian. If you
don't know who she is, that's OK. Her
older sister stars in a leaked sex tape
and her step-brother has previously
hosted his own MTV vehicle called
"Bromance" (no, seriously), so natural-
ly she deserves her own E! reality show.
Actually, no, two separate E! reality
shows. Khloe recently found true love
in L.A. Lakers player Lamar Odom,
whom she had been dating for one
whole month prior to their wedding.
It's never a good sign when you have
The scandals just
keep on coming.
And coming.
to reassure "fans" at a press confer- .
ence that your wedding is not, in fact, a
sham. It's safe to say this one will likely
go down in the history books as the
quickest trip from thereception party
to divorce court.
But enough of this depressing divorce
talk; let's focus on budding - albeit,
entirely speculative - relationships
among Hollywood's rising youngstar-
lets. To that end: Sorry "Twilight"ers
and general British-hottie enthusiasts,
but according to the nation's premiere
celebrity trash rags, Robert Pattinson
is off the market. Or, at the very least,
he's been spending the'majority of his
free time sticking his tongue down the
throat of fellow "Twilight" star Kristen
Stewart. Of course, the two in-demand
stars would never play pretend lovers in
a PR-generated campaign leading up to
November's highly anticipated (at least
in the tween demographic) release of
"New Moon." Nah, that's just pure cyni-
cism. Regardless of whether RPatt and
KStew are actually bumpin' uglies, their
romance - whether real or contrived
- is sure to send a surplus of Hot Topic-
clad teenager girls into seclusion with
tubs of Haagen-Dazs and a mixtape of
pop-rock emo hits.
Don't worry, girls. I hear Justin Tim-
berlake is available. Or at least that's
the latest piece of unverified celebrity
Resende is rumored to be dating Justin
Timberlake. To confirm these rumors,
e-mail her at sresende@umich.edu.

Not just a kid's 'Story'

DailyArts Writer
In 1995, before Pixar churned out
multi-million dollar masterpieces
every year, there was "Toy Story."
The film revolutionized CGI film-
making with a style of animation
that paid homage to the artistry of
old school Disney while embracing
the new wave of digital technol-
ogy. "Toy Story" was followed by
a sequel, "Toy Story 2," which was
brighter and fresher than ever.
More colorful masterpieces fol-
lowed - movies about bugs, mon-
sters, fish, superheroes, rats and
robots. These unforgettable films
have transformed Pixar into the
most consistent CGI animation
production company in the world.
Still, wehaven't forgotten the stu-
dio's beginnings. For two weeks
only, Pixar has given us the chance
to watch these 14-year-old classics
back to back in 3-D, and for $10 a
ticket I'd say the money is well
worth it.
When I was little, I remember
sitting in my kitchen patiently
rewinding the videotape to "Toy
Story" by hand when the magnetic
strip suddenly gave out. My mom
had to take me back to Kmart to
buy a new tape. Last weekend, as
I sat in the theater beside adults
reliving their memories and kids

who quite possibly were watching
"Toy Story" for the first time, it all
felt so familiar.
It was funny how easily all the
characters came back to me. It was
like a family reunion with Woody
the cowboy and Buzz Lightyear the
space commander; Spud, Hamm
the piggy bank and Rex; Slinky, Bo
Peep, as well as Jessie the cowgirl,
Bullseye and Stinky Pete the evil
prospector. My brother and I used
to pull consecutive "Toy Story"
marathons like this all the time,
watching the first followed by the
second followed by the first and
Why I cry
at CGI.
so on. By the fourth time around I
would start to get sick of the mov-
ies, but that didn't stop me from
starting over again the next week.
I always preferred the sequel to
the original. To thisday, "Toy Story
2" remains my favorite gem in Pix-
ar's star-studded repertoire, and
watching it again I was reminded
that no matter how sophisticated
or environmentally conscious the
company gets, nothing can replace
the utter simplicity of toys trying
to find their way back home to a

little boy who loves them.
It's a film inextricably linked to
my childhood - I watched "Toy
Story 2" before I watched "Star
Wars." In the sequel, Pixar seems
more comfortable taking risks and
injecting pop-culture humor into
See TOY STORY, Page 4B


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