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December 03, 2013 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-12-03

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T M g a - c n yTuesday, December 3, 2013 - 7

The Michigan Daily - michiganclaily.com

Evolution of street art

Daily Arts Writer
Is street art a genre of art histo-
ry to be preternaturally preserved
in museums for millennia or is
it more like the sand art of Bud-
dhist monks, matter-of-factly scat-
tered to the next wind in cycles of
rebirth? Sistine Chapel or Snap-
Banksy, "nom-de-tagueur" of
the world's most famous unidenti-
fied street artist, amped up the dia-
logue onthe fine art ofgraffiti with
his October "residency" in New
York titled "Better Out Than In."
Banksy's work, like that of many
street artists, challenges the art
world's conventional channels of
trade: galleries and museums. On
West 24th Street in Manhattan,
Banksy "showed" two of his pieces
by hanging them with industrial
chains from an overpass.
Viewers were guided by vel-
vet ropes between orange traffic
cones, and welcomed at a bench
created from a plank of wood rest-
ing on cinder blocks - Banksy had
mocked up a gallery space with
street paraphernalia on a public
thoroughfare in Chelsea's haute
His NYC work included a
stint where a homeless man sold
unidentified pieces of Banksy's art
for laughable fractions of the pric-
es they would fetch in art world
He placed his final mark in
Long Island City, Queens - home
of 5Pointz, described by its web-
site as "the world's premiere
'graffiti Mecca,' where aerosol
artists from around the globe
paint colorful pieces on the walls
of a 200,000-square-foot factory
5Pointz, whose tag line is "the
Institute of Higher Burning," is
across the street from MoMA-
PSI, the hip outpost of New York's
Museum of Modern Art.
With an art institution in
such close proximity, you'd think
there'd be more advocates for the
preservationist side of the debate.
But the sand art winds were
For a few years now, the
Wolkoff family, which owns the
5Pointz factory building, has been
threatening to end the communal,
11-year-old street art space with a
plan to build a high-rise residen-
tial complex. This did not fly with

the 5Ps
time N
walls o
as a dyr
filing a
for lanc
and 5P
In BanI
for the
of his
that's it
It's beet
It wo
In th
night w
miles p
to see
of their
ed to t
wash m

rintz community and their alley was able to take that blow
ters. Jonathan Cohen, long- and resile because, even in its nor-
YC street artist known as mal state, without a whitewasher,
One," is the founder and street art is ephemeral - work
r" of 5Pointz. He has led may only live a short time before
to save the monumental being covered by another's tag.
f street art and establish it What is essential is that there be
namic graffiti museum. space for it.
efforts have ranged from The fleeting character of street
lawsuit under the Artists art has not deterred the art world
Act to applying to the Land- from co-opting what was once
Preservation Commission considered vandalism. Keith Har-
dmark status. None of the ing's giant works in New York's
however, had been fruitful subways or Banksy's messages
ointz 'remains vulnerable. ae now lauded by the art estab-
ksy's conclusion to his NYC lishment as masterful artwork,
cy, he plugged a final plea which is not a problem. Graffiti
place that unifies so many and street art can be appreciated
fellow street artists: "And both organically in public spaces
. Thanks for your patience. and curatorially in museums and
n fun. Save 5Pointz. Bye." galleries.
auld not be enough. Upon discovering Banksy's
ae early hours of Nov. 19, a work, another streetartistquickly
hen the windshowled at 30 tagged over his red heart-shaped
er hour, gusting to 40, the balloon found in Red Hook,
whitewashed the entire Brooklyn, while the building
building. AWolkoff family owner took it upon himself to
r said he thought it was the preserve the work under plexi-
ne" thing to do; because he glass. The only tragedy would be
ated the art, he didn't want if street art ceased to exist out-
it dramatically destroyed side the museums and collections.
demolition. The protesters- That's why space is key.
mourners of the site see no It's no secret that public art is
ssinthe decision. Examples openly valued in communities.
r outgry from images post- Artists are commissioned to cre-
:he Facebook group "Save ate murals like the one opposite
" include: "Wolkoff = art graffiti alley on Liberty Street.
er" and "you can't white- Government art councils estab-
y city." lish public art funds for its sole
purpose. But it would be stultify-
ing to allow commissioned art-
ye couldn't ists to monopolize public spaces.
Shouldn't at least some of the
fve 5Pointz. public art in communities spring
spontaneously from the hands of
the public?
Of course, there will and
knn Arbor, Graffiti Alley should always be the street art-
erty Street is a communal ists who push the boundaries
ke 5Pointz was, for local of where to display their work.
artists, as well as for musi- Most of us still want to see rules
nd dancers. You probably broken and feel awed by spot-
the regulars there, or at ting street art at unfathomable
.e Michael Jackson dancer. heights or on inaccessible spots.
being a spot for street But places like 5Pointz and Graf-
sance, or a place to take fiti Alley point out the benefits of
heesy photos, the alley has space available for the democra-
ome to some world-class tized expression of art.
frt. Its ever-changingwalls It doesn't need to be those
y invoke the meditative exact spaces forever, but there
es of Buddhist monks, who , does need to be space and a suffi-
ntricate works of art from cient period of time to attract art.
of sand and then immedi- How much time? Less than the
t them blow away. two millennia since Greek and
008, one of the walls was Roman sculpture, but more than
'ashed, wiping clean the the time it takes to scatter sand in
of tags and images. The the wind.

I can see my house from here."
Lookingpast the
business of sequels


follow-ups damage
original's brand
DailyArts Writer
Whether a direct successor
or a continuation of a previous
series, it's always difficult to
judge sequels. While writers
may feel they want to give dedi-
cated fans what they deserve,
sometimes the sequel may taint
how some view the series as a
whole (think "The Matrix" tril-
ogy). It's also difficult to com-
pletely emulate the original
installation, which will cause
critics to claim the sequels are
uncreative. So what exactly
makes for a satisfying sequel?
Here, we will examine the
reception of sequels and spin-
offs and how they are viewed
strictly in television or film.
Perhaps the most relevant,
recent example of a continu-
ation series is "The Legend of
Korra." This past Friday, the
season First seen on
ed. Whi -he filter

I will not divulge any details
of the season finale, there has
been a disappointing aspect of
the show since its announce-
ment. When "Avatar: The Last
Airbender" released, there was
a certain charm in the art form
and the Chinese-influenced
themes of the show. The series,
had a quaint, traditional feeling
to it with a protagonist that the
viewers learned to empathize
with. As the protagonist Aang
grew, we cheered; when he
struggled, we lamented those
Unfortunately, "The Legend
of Korra" - while a worthwhile
series - loses much of this influ-
ence. The traditional Chinese-
influenced aspect of the show
has largely disappeared, and the
show progressed towards a '30s
setting. For those watching "The
Legend of Korra" for the first
time, they won't miss the aspects
of its predecessor. Instead, they'll
view the show as a standalone
entity. Those following the series
until its end, though, may feel as
if something is missing. The pro-
tagonist, Korra, ahot-headed and
standoff-ish character, serves
almost as a foil to Aang from the
original series. Having fans accli-
mua te sch na anz-e a ne-

bulent - especially if these fans
are purists. Despite the disjunc-
tion, though, fans still are satis-
fied with the show's direction
and quality, making this a suc-
cessful sequel.
Other shows and films are
not quite as lucky. One of the
most commonly cited examples
is "Scrubs." After NBC's abrupt
cancellation of the show, ABC
picked up the series for a satisfy-
ing conclusion. As much as fans
feared the show would tank,
the season finale lived up to its
expectations and more. What
followed, however, was a train
wreck. With the show's resur-
gence and success, "Scrubs" was
renewed in the form of another
series - after the show had
already been brought to a final
conclusion. The result was a ter-
rible spin-off with few cameos
from the original cast. The hos-
school setting had no relevance
to the charm of the original
series. As a result, the most
recent season is not viewed as a
part of the original series.
The problem of sequels made
for profit becomes a large issue
- especially in the film indus-
try. There doesn't need to be
an explanation to say the "Star
Wars" prequels were a desper-
ate attempt to generate revenue.
And while these directors may
mean well for' their fans, the
viewers' reception is not always
the kindest. Take "Iron Man
2," for instance. No one really
remembers what happened in
the movie. In fact, its storyline
and lack of action clearly indi-
cated that the movie was made
for revenue while "The Aveng-
ers" was being produced. These
sequels are only successful for
the sake of being marketable.
In the larger scheme of things,
they are forgotten and viewed
as a separate body of work.
While it may seem as if I hate
sequels, this is not the case.
For instance, "Toy Story" and
the original "Star Wars" tril-
ogy are great examples of what
sequels can be. Even the pre-
quel to "Monsters Inc." made
me smile over the summer. The
issue. of a sequel, however, is
when it's made for no purpose
other than money. If there is
anything to take away, it should
be that the quality of a sequel
affects how audiences view a
series. If great, the series is a
fluid, enjoyable ride. If terrible,
then it should probably never be
viewed except as an example of
how terrible a movie could be.
- A version of this article was
published on the Daily Arts blog,
The Filter, on Nov. 24, 2013.

In A
on Libr
spot, li
street a
clans a
know t
least th
some ci
been h
create i
ately le
In 2

Action-packed 'Homefront'B ORDFOEA F
Daily Arts Writer

Around this time of year, the
onslaught of holiday cheer over-
whelms a lot of us - and no, that
doesn't make
those people B
The point Homeffont
is: We could
use a little At Quality16
something and Rave
to juxtapose Open Road
the kumbaya,
let's all get
along, everything's merry feel-
ing of the season.
Enter: "Homefront." The film 'Who's got the meth?"
stars Jason Statham ("Parker"),
and if that doesn't tell you cessful action mov
everything you need to know tough-guy trying t
about why this is a good change a new leaf, a sm
of pace from holiday joy, you villain with just tb
must not know his work. of charm and det
Phil Broker (Statham) is a slew of thugs look
former DEA agent, who, as a revenge on said h
wildly entertaining opening course, plenty of bu
sequence depicts, has made Confrontations
some enemies in his day. Look- Statham and Fran
ing to settle down, Broker include a large bat
moves to a small town in Loui- to-hand combat seq
siana with his daughter (Iza- leave the bad guys1
bela Vidovic, "Because These wounds and Stathar
Kids Are..."). Broker tries to his own bad-assnes
keep his head down and mind Luckily, for a filt
his own business, but an alter- heavily on action t
cation between his daughter' load, "Homefront"
and a boy at school entangles strength in director
him with two meth-heads (Kate ("Runaway Jury").
Bosworth, "Superman Returns"
and James Franco, "127 Hours")
with a talent for disruption, Statha
ignorant of the magnitude of *
their actions. Franco ki(
Penned by Sylvester Stallone
("Rocky"), the story, an adapta-
tion of Chuck Logan's novel of
the same name, provides all the the camera to conju
required ingredients for a suc- and calm when

ie: a former his crane shots in the open-
o turn over ing scene and precise direction
ooth-talking of the fighting throughout the
re right mix film highlight his impressive
estability, a work.
ing to exact Predictably, however, the
ero and, of characters are about as deep as
tt-kicking. sandbars. One-dimensionality
between haunts the film, which only
co's cronies contains cursory exploration
ch of hand- of characters' more complex
quences that motivations and struggles.
licking their of the adults, performances
M basking in are mostly bleh, with Bosworth
s. providing the most emotionally
m that relies striking material. The real act-
to carry the ing chops belong to the young
" finds its Vidovic. She taps into a wide
Gary Fleder range of emotions and is by far
Fleder uses the most endearing part of the
"Homefront" is far from a
perfect film. Hell, it's far from
en a great film. But, it provides a
ck ass cool story centered around a
rugged veteran of the genre
like, Statham doing what he
does best: kicking ass. In this
ure intensity way, the film is a complete suc-
appropriate; cess.

Jack Nicholson wants his sunglasses bac


r 4

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