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September 10, 2010 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-09-10

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Friday, September 10, 2010 - 7

Saving art books
from digitization

The bond of facial hair runs deep.
Abiding by the
Co Am

How bowling and
White Russians
represent a lost era
Daily Arts Writer
Sometimes, there's a man for
his time and place. And that's The
Dude. Sometimes, well, there's a
movie for a time
and place. And
that's "The Big The Big
Lebowski." When Lebowsid
the film was first
released, it wasn't Saturday at
particularly well Midnight
received. Many State Theater
critics deemed it $6
the worst of the
Coen Brothers' movies and said it
would soon be forgotten - which
is a perfectly understandable reac-
tion. Face it. It's a really weird
movie about a pothead named Jef-
fery "The Dude" Lebowski who
gets mistaken for a millionaire with
E-mail join.arts@umich.edu
information on applying.

the same name. obviously, this ends
in The Dude's rug getting peed on.
Since the rug really tied the room
together and that sort of aggression
will not stand, The Dude investi-
gates and encounters a host of mem-
orable characters.
While the quirks of the cast do
help "Lebowski" withstand the test
of time, I'd argue there's more to it
than that. With the cult following
the film has, there must be. The
film really means something to the
masses of fans who attend midnight
screenings and do some hardcore
bowling.White Russians have never
been so popular and bathrobes have
never been so stylish.
In order to understand the
attraction and significance of the
film, "The Big Lebowski" must be
understood as a quintessentially
American movie. It takes place
against the backdrop of the Gulf
War, which was arguably partially
fought as an attempt to heal the
wounds years after Vietnam - to
reconstruct a new identity of a vic-
torious nation. "The Big Lebowski"

struggles to reconstruct the iden-
tity of the American populous after
Rather than forging a completely
new identity, "The Big Lebowski"
creates one out of tired icons from
America's past. The movie is noth-
ing ifnot nostalgic. The favorite pas-
time of The Dude and his cohorts is
bowling, a relic of the idyllic '50s
and '60s. The Dude has a picture
of a bowling President Nixon in his
living room, a relic of a less cynical
America. "The Big Lebowski" takes
place in Los Angeles, which was, for
many years, the exalted final fron-
tier of manifest destiny. The nar-
rator is a cowboy - Hollywood's
traditional, masculine hero.
In this case, however, the cow-
boy is not the hero of this film. He
seems to be lost and hollow, as do
many of the film's elements. The
bowling alley is kind of sketchy. The
Los Angeles portrayed in the film is
not "The City of Angels" but rather
a collection of characters from the
underground, ranging from juvenile
See LEBOWSKI, Page 8

DailyArts Writer
With the recent releases of
Amazon's Kindle and Apple's iPad,
the shift from
print to digi- Historof Art
tal is becom-
ing yet more Symposium
pronounced. Saturday
This Saturday,
the History at1 p.m.
of Art sympo- HelmutStern
sium "The Art Auditorium
Book Today:
Print Projects in the Digital Age"
explores the re-emergence of "art
books" in the face of a declining
publishing industry.
"At this moment when the
industry at large is really strug-
gling, artists and ... independent
groups or presses seem like they
(are) starting to experiment and
do some interesting new things,"
said Jacob Proctor, associate
curator of modern and contempo-
rary art at UMMA and co-orga-
nizer of the symposium. Those
new innovations he described
include "experimental design and
new experimental ideas about dis-
Proctor and Elizabeth Sears,
fellow organizer and professor
of history of art, collaborated to
focus on this wide-ranging topic
in the visual arts. The "art book"
is not solely a resource for artists,
but includes other printed pub-
lications like museum catalogs
and academic books. While print
publications get fewer and-farther
between, the art book is undergo-
ing a reemergence as an item that
cannot be so easily digitized, they
The symposium will feature
five panelists from various fields
in publishing. The first panel

will for
of pub
first ha
and fo
in Berl
sor at t
and Pa
at Prin
in New
sent "a:
who ha

cus more on art historians' in the visual arts, as art books
ctive of the current state can be used for everything from
lishing. Panelists for the fine art photography to stills from
lf include Joseph Imorde, anime or television series. Accord-
or at University of Siegen ingly, sponsors of the symposium
under of Edition Imorde include the Department of Screen
in, Gloria Eury, founder of Arts and Cultures, the Depart-
erg Periscope Press Ltd. in ment of English, the School of Art
rgh and Lisa Middag, pub- & Design and the Taubman Col-
rs director at Walker Art lege of Architecture and Urban
in Minneapolis. Planning.
second panel will con- In this digital age - seen in the
e on the design aspect of publishing world through online
ring. The panelists include publications, e-books and other
Nunoo-Quarcoo, profes- digital tools - the rise of the art
he School of Art & Design book in print signifies a lasting
ul Wagner, senior designer importance of the tangible con-
iceton Architectural Press servation of images in print.
York City. "Sometimes the physical is
selected panelists repre- very important because seeing
number of extremely artic- it, opening it, feeling it, ... all the
forward-thinking people senses are really important in
ave pondered the future of terms of experiencing the book.
These are not just things to sort of
look through but things to experi-
prin ence and that has to do with how
)w w ill print it's designed," Nunoo-Quarcoo
1 1. 1 -said.
p2 uil1sai. The art book is the latest focus
npete 'with of the annual History of Art Sym-
posium. Previous symposiums
the iPad? have focused on documentary
photography, materialism and the
concept of the ephemeral.
What is perhaps more intrigu-
ok with images (and) who ing about this upcoming sym-
ent different sides of the posium is the focus on the
Sears said. unforeseen and potential reper-
scussion with members of cussions in publishing as a result
dience will follow the pan- of our universal dependence on
presentations. technology and the digital rendi-
ink the discussion is going tion of publications.
olve around 'Why now?' "Who's not interested in pub-
ally in the context of digital lishing and what's happening to
s in terms of... what's more the print media today?" Sears
en, why is the art world asked. "It's such a vital issue,
g towards print?" Wagner we're really seeing enormous
change and the consequences are
cross-disciplinary event very hard to predict still. But it's a
a broad range of interests turbulent and fascinating period."


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*- 71111 Wet Liberty Rd
S" ArannArbor, Mkhigan
For more info visit wwwttcmarts.org or call910-616-0372.

8:- 743 433
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