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May 01, 2012 - Image 1

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Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2012-05-01
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Tuesday, May1, 2012
1 The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Carving art into the Olympics

Modern art seeks to
redefine competitive
Daily Arts Writer
With the London Olympics fast
approaching, it's high time the art
community gears up for another
celebration of all things artistic. Or,
at least, that was the case a century
It's hard now to imagine art's
place at the Olympic games, espe-
cially considering the Wolff Olins
2012 logo that has outraged many,
given seizures to some and has
even been seen as racist by the
Iranian government. Yet, a hun-
dred years ago, art was actually
a competitive event at the 1912
Stockholm games.
Pierre de Coubertin, the inno-
vator and posthumously criticized
founder of the International Olym-
pic Committee, believed that the
games needed a synthesis of athlet-

is and intellectual pursuits to round
out the competition. He drew this
viewpoint from his interpretation
of the Greek games - where sport
and culture seemed interwoven -
and from his personal educational
philosophy - which sought to cre-
ate a more complete individual
through learning and sport.
So a system was designed in
which art, or rather artists' tech-
niques, would be split into five
judged categories: architecture,
literature, music, painting and
sculpture. Within each category,
the judges would award honors of
gold, silver and bronze medals just
as they would in any other Olym-
pic competition. This format was
followed in the Olympic games for
the next forty years, until it was
decided by the IOC that artists
were professionals and the com-
petition was discretely dropped
after the Helsinki summer games
in 1952.
The competition did draw
some unusual artists to the Olym-
pics, such as American Walter
W. Winans', who won the gold

medal for his bronze sculpture,
An American Trotter, in 1912.
Interestingly, this was not Winans
first Olympic medal, but his third.
He also received the gold for his
shooting skills in rifling during
the 1908 London games and the
silver in 1912.
That same year, Pierre de Cou-
bertin won the gold medal for liter-
ature with his poem "Ode to Sport."
Perhaps Coubertin's victory reflects
his own ego and desire to recede
amid the Olympiads, but maybe it
was an outcome of necessity, since
no other artist rose to challenge
him in the event. In fact, across all
five events of the Stockholm games,
just six artists participated, mak-
ing it a competition in name only.
The sole silver medalist that year,
French sculptor Georges Dubois, is
unfortunately all but lost to history
Yet the year 1912 was far from
lacking in artistic flair. Cubism had
thrown the art world into the avant-
garde of modernism, and futurism
emerged, heraldingthe triumphs of
modernity. However, neither move-

ment, nor their peripheral imper-
sonators and reactionaries, were in
Sweden that summer. The pieces
winning the Gold were traditional,
formulaic and - as with winner
Giovanni Pellegrini's gold medal
painting - genuinely cartoonish.
Clearly, something was institution-
ally wrong.
The problem may come from
the "amateur" status that the com-
petition required, since most seri-
ous artists then and now dedicate
themselves to their work, not com-
petition - see if you get very far
calling Christo and Jeanne-Claude
or Murakami an amateur. Even still,
the labels of "amateur" and "profes-
sional" are more slippery in regards
to art than in sports. So, if we just
sidestep that issue, can we find an
intersection between the Olym-
pic games, competition and the art
Some say no, suggesting that art
and competition is like water and
oil, but such a notion is misguided
when looking at the increasingly
competitive art world. Perhaps now
art is even more competitive than

the sports world when you con-
sider the percentage of highly paid
artists to highly paid athletes or
the critical reception they receive
- Nobel Prizes in literature, poet
laureates and so on. Art exhibitions
are now corporate sponsored and
museums are more and more pre-
occupied with admission. And this
competition isn't solely at the high-
est echelons of the art world, since
scholarships for art, essays and
design are as numerous and com-
parative as athletic scholarships.
Though the art world may not like
to acknowledge it, valuation is rife
within its ranks.
Why shouldn't we see a Prisma-
color sponsored artist someday?
It might already exist, consider-
ing that national funds constant-
ly support artists they believe
support their ethos - think Lee
Ufan's Guggenheim show last fall
that was sponsored by Samsung.
We may very well be on the verge
of art returning to the Olympics,
but hopefully not at the expense of
the unknown artists that push the
art world forward.

Ann Arbor, MI


Weekly Summer Edition

From Class of 2012 Mugs and Teddy Bears to a large selection of photographs and other works of art,
The M Den features the widest selection of gifts to help any graduate remember their days here at Michigan.
Come see us at any M Den location or online at www.MDen.com, and to all graduates we wish you the best of luck.
The M Den on Campus
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'U' stem cell line
approved by NIH
The second stem cell line
from the 'U' to be approved
Cable doesn't cut it
Michael Spaeth discusses
the importance of closely
analyzing every news source
The Beet Box
combines health food and
fast food
'M' softball loses
two of three to Illini
The Wolverines barely avoid
sweep by Big Ten underdog.
Vol. CXI.13102012ase sig.nDa.y
NEW S . .............. ................2
OPINION .. .......... ............4

Dr. Sanjay Gupta receiving the honorary Doctoral of Humane Letters from President Mary Sue Coleman.
Gupta offers life lessons
at Spring Commencement

Gupta says 'U' grads
have an advantage
over others
Daily News Editor
Over the weekend, 11,574 grad-
uates received their tickets to
leave Ann Arbor, to stop checking
CTools and to never turn in anoth-
er blue book exam.
In the Big House, blanketed
with overcast skies, the University
graduates sat for about two hours
to hear speakers, including Uni-
versity alum Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and

SvF makes
first group
Student-led fund
chooses children's
study video company
Daily Staff Reporter and Daily
News Editor
A group of University student
have made an investment that aim
o change learning forever.
The Social Venture Fund, a stu-
Ient-run impact investment fun
,elonging to the Zell Lurie Insti-
tute for Entrepreneurial Studies i
the Ross School of Business, mad
Ets first investment this month
when it invested in LearnZillion
recently developed educations
technology company
SvF was founded in 2009 55 the
first student-run venture fund a
the Business School, comprised o
graduate and undergraduate stu
dents. It is also the first student-run
social venture fund in the Unite
States, accordingto SvF'swebsite.
The fund researches companies
with social and environments
nterests and will give $2.4 million
:o LearnZillion along with 17 other
Business graduate student Set
reenberg, SvF's director of opera
ions, said a unique aspect of Sv
s its careful consideration of the
social aspects of the companie
t researches for potential invest
See~ VESTMENT, Page-

receive the official recognition of
their degrees.
Gupta, who is the chief medi-
cal correspondent for CNN and a
practicing neurosurgeon, started
his speech with his long-felt per-
sonal attachment to Ann Arbor,
beginning with his parents meet-
ing in the city and leading to his
eventual attendanceat the Univer-
sity for undergraduate and medi-
cal school.
"Not only was the foundation
for most of my life conceived in
this town, I myself was likely con-
ceived in this town," Gupta said.
"Best bet is the 17th floor of the
University Towers - but no one's

talkingfor sure."
Gupta then delved into 10 more
serious lessons for the graduates
while he stood on the podium.
"Lesson number one: always
respect your elders," Gupta began.
"There's no doubt that our par-
ents seem to grow smarter as we
grow older, but truth is they also
sacrificed an incredible amount to
allow our lives be what they are,
and it is on their shoulders that we
realize our greatest triumphs."
Other lessons included advice
to make the impossible possible
and to always cheer for the Wol-
"If you ever cheer for another

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