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June 30, 2008 - Image 37

Resource type:
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Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2008-06-30

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Orientation Edition 2008
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

25

GRAFFITI
From Page 21
support them, because there wasn't
a ton of publicity for that."
She was referring to a sit in held
by Students Organizing for Labor
and Economic Equality in April.
Twelve students were arrested
after they refused to leave Univer-
sity President Mary Sue Coleman's
office. They wanted the University
to sign on to the Designated Suppli-
ers Program, which would require
the University to only license its
apparel to companies that adhere
to the program's labor standards."I
originally wantedto putc(the graffiti
piece) near the Fleming building so
that Mary Sue Coleman would have
to walk by it every day and see it,
but I never got to finishthe one I put
over there, and it just got defaced,
unfortunately," S.H.R. said.

The meaning and culture behind
this urban art form has spread
widely beyond the "local kids fool-
ing around" connotation, becoming
a national phenomenon. Websites
such as Streetsy.com seek to unite
graffiti as a cultural art form, link-
ing the street art created in big cit-
ies like New York, Tokyo, Reykjavik
and Tel Aviv.
"Graffiti is used for all sorts
of purposes and for all sorts of
causes," said Jake Dobkin, the
website's founder, about the use of
graffiti in politically-charged cit-
ies. "Take (the conflict in Israel) -
there's plenty of anti-Israeli graffiti
on the Palestinian side of the sepa-
ration wall. But there's also plenty
of pro-Israel stuff on the other side
of the wall, and in Tel Aviv and
Jerusalem," he said. "Both sides
use graf(fiti) because it's an easy
way of getting attention."
It's also an easy way of portray-
ing personal or cultural views to a

big audience: the public.
Graffiti is a transient art. What
may be on a wall today might not be
there tomorrow. Graffiti Archae-
ology, a project dedicated to the
study of graffiti, treats graffiti as
an artifact preserved through pic-
tures that the site's founder, Cas-
sidy Curtis, assembles in a timeline
format.
"Change has been essential to
graffiti culture since almost the
very beginning," Curtis said. "The
fact that writers expect their work
to be painted over eventually cre-
ates an entirely different value sys-
tem around the work. It's not the
finished object that's important,
but the act of painting it."
The website considers graffiti
a social art form - the graffiti on
a building from three months ago
might not be the same graffiti that
exists there now, but there's often a
dialogue between different artists
who approach the same canvas.

"Graffiti does have a social
aspect to it, certainly," S.H.R. said.
"It's awesome to see what other
people are doing and take ideas
from them, just as much as any
other form of art when you play off
other people's ideas."
Graffiti is controversial in rela-
tion to the dynamics between legal
and illegal, public canvas and pri-
vate property. The issues are sub-
ject to debate, especially between
the people who advocate graffiti as
a legitimate art form.
According to Dobkin, the differ-
ence between graffiti being legal or
illegal lies in questioning the role
of anti-graffiti laws themselves,
and not in questioning graffiti's
role as an art form. "Obviously,
graffiti takes a different view of
property, so it's not surprising that
most 'upstanding' citizens react to
it with disdain," Dobkin said.
S.H.R. agrees that there are cer-
tain complexities ut in play when

people relegate graffiti to the "art
of the slums and ghettos."
Curtis thinks differently.
"You can't separate the destruc-
tive component (of graffiti) from
the creative," he said. "But you can
choose to perceive graffiti as a gift,
a piece of free art done at no cost to
you; or you can choose to perceive
it as theft, as the taking of public
or private space. It's all a matter of
perspective."
Either way, the artistic, social
and cultural roles graffiti plays
shouldn't be holed into precon-
ceived notions of the graffiti art-
ists' intentions. Graffiti is an art
form with a charm that bridges
the concepts between "high art"
and the perception of "low art,"
between what's in the Museum
of Modern Art and what's on the
streets.
"In the end, I think all that mat-
ters is what's on the wall," S.H.R.
said.

CONCERT PREVIEW
Classical music rocks HEY, COME WRITE

By BEN VANWAGONER
DailyArts Writer

profitable.
Tonight's
ly well-chos

Mar. 14, 2008 - The program - it is in no
of this concert alone should be instead a k
enough to inspire. the audienc
The San Francisco Sympho- though, any
ny is world-renowned in every cal flair for
sense: through its recordings, its so renowne
immense popular presence in the program for
classical music scene and
perhaps more important-
ly, through the outreach
efforts of its conductor,
Michael Tilson Thomas.
Thomas has been high-
ly lauded - and deserv-
edly so. When he took
the baton for the Sym-
phony in 1995, the already
exceptional organization
gained not only a genius'
of a conductor but direc-
tion in presentation and
marketing. Under Thom-
as's guidance, the San
Francisco Symphony has
accomplished the impos-
sible: a symphony for the co
everyman as well as for Michael Tilson Thomas.
classical music aficiona-
dos. His programs are famously bly the best
accessible and artistically daring the Univer
in a way that few other ensembles - the St. Pet
have been able to duplicate. The being the o
group's reputation as an avant- will not only
garde, American symphony for cert snooze
lovers of the classics has made it a young an
prosperous in recent years while more obscui
other orchestras struggleto remain The first

programis particular-
en for a college campus
way a concession but
een understanding of
e. It does not include,
of the American musi-
which the orchestra is
d, sadly. Even so, the
r this concert is possi-

ius's Symphony No. 7, followed by
Beethoven's Symphony No. 3 in
E-flat Major, or the "Eroica." The
Sibelius piece is different in form
from a standard symphony - with
just one movement rather than four
- and is praised as highly creative
and original. The Beethoven piece
should act as an effective counter-
balance, but no less revolutionary
for its familiarity to
modern listeners. The
"Eroica" is regarded as
a milestone in classical
music, both for its style
and its length, greater
than other Classical-
period symphonies.
There is little doubt
that the San Francisco
Symphony is a good
orchestral grab for the
winter calendar and
for UMS. With a con-
ductor like Michael
Tilson Thomas, who
has achieved celebrity
status in his field, as
>SYMPHONY well as particularly fine
musicians, the sym-
phony has more than
earned its reputation. The only
downfall of today's performance is
the difficulty in acquiring tickets.
Ticket woes aside, if there is one
concert to see this season, for both
casual concertgoers and classi-
cal lovers alike, this is it. Tell your
friends that your parents are com-
ing into town if you have to, but go.

FOR US.
E-mail us at
artseditors08@umich.edu.
We'll be waiting.

ONeed Inform ation?
Yeah, we've got that.
Campus Information
Centers
Michigan Union
Pierpont Commons
764-INFO
www.umich.edu/info

offering this year from
sity Musical Society
tersburg Philharmonic
only contender - and
y ward off the mid-con-
but will likely capture
dience in a way most
re programs cannot.
piece will be Sibel-

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