Tag Archive | "Art"

Critic’s Corner: ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’

“So, this is my life. And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad, and I’m still trying to figure out how could that be.”

If the film version of “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” had to be summed up in a simple sentence or two, this quote from the protagonist, Charlie, would be the perfect choice. This movie is about capturing a feeling, but it isn’t simple.

It’s about capturing an era in life — a time of teenage confusion when everything is somehow simultaneously happy and sad and exciting and depressing and as dramatic as possible. And by the end, it’s still not figured out. But it’s still life, for better or worse.

This 2012 indie film tells the story of high school freshman Charlie, played by Logan Lerman. He’s an outsider, and his first days of high school are rough, to say the least. He connects with step-siblings Patrick and Sam, played by the fantastic Ezra Miller and the fresh-from-”Harry-Potter” fame Emma Watson. Their group of “misfit” friends accepts the newcomer with open arms, even though all are seniors and longtime companions. With them, Charlie experiences the angst of being a teenager and learns about how to “participate in life.”

Maybe that sounds like your typical, clichéd teenage movie, and maybe at moments it was. However, this movie overall made me feel like I was re-experiencing my high school years.

John Anderson of Newsday had a similar impression. “High school — and the teen years in general — is a series of minor tragedies, small epiphanies, brushes with joy, skirmishes with pain, all adding up to something delightfully awful, and delightful to be done with. The film makes all that make perfect sense in a way very few movies in its genre do,” wrote Anderson.

“Wallflower” is based on a 1999 young adult novel by Steven Chbosky. Interestingly enough, he wrote the screenplay and directed the movie. I have not read the book, but I do know that Chbosky had his work cut out for him. The novel is formated in letters, written by Charlie to an anonymous person who is helping him cope with life after his best friend commits suicide. That must have been tough to translate into a movie, but the film makes good use of the letter writing as a way to see what’s going on in Charlie’s mind. All the important details from the book remained, though some plot lines were cut out or lessened.

I give major props to Chbosky — for his first real film, this is impressive. It defies what you expect of the story without trying too hard. It has big-name actors and actresses in it, but they don’t overshadow the story. It has depth and darkness, yet I still walked away with a sense of hope.

“Wallflower” is a movie with something to say, not just about high school, but life in general. It’s about love and how we don’t know how to handle it. It’s about life and how to live it. It’s about taking each moment as it comes and appreciating it for what it is. It’s about knowing that you’re never going to have it all figured out, and it’s never going to be perfect, but that’s OK.

I think that was actually one of my favorite things about it — it didn’t necessarily feel like an ending as the movie concludes. It felt like a pause in the characters’ lives. Charlie’s end monologue acknowledges that he has a lot to work out, but it also acknowledges that these moments will pass.

“I know these will be stories someday. And our pictures will become old photographs. We’ll all become somebody’s mom or dad. But right now these moments are not stories. This is happening. … This one moment when you know you’re not a sad story, … and in this moment I swear, we are infinite,” he says.

“Wallflower” doesn’t state a lot of things outright for audiences. It expects them to pay attention because so much of what happens is never actually said or shown. Even the major plot twist is portrayed with little more than sparse flashbacks and implications, but Chbosky expects his audience to be smart enough to figure it out. I, for one, appreciated that the story demanded more from me than just a passive viewing.

The book was written in the ’90s, and the movie is clearly placed there as well, but very few specifics are given. You never know exactly where or when this is taking place, which makes you feel more like a part of the story. We were all there: freshman year, terrified on the inside, confused, alone, and yet somehow hopeful, probably because we didn’t know any better.

Might I add: the soundtrack for the movie is amazing. Music is a huge part of the lives of the characters, and the life of the movie itself. Mix tapes are prominently used throughout the film as characters’ ways of showing affection. And yes, actual cassette tapes. It was endearing.

It’s not a movie for everyone — “Wallflower” deals with some really serious issues like drugs, sexual abuse, homosexuality and depression, though it does so tastefully. It requires you to stop and think and actually feel something.

Of course, it has some problems. My biggest issue with it was some of the storylines, particularly in dealing with the letter-writing and the best friend’s suicide, were not fleshed out as well as they could have been. Viewers also don’t really get a good grip on any of the flashback sequences until the very end scenes, which can be frustrating. And Emma Watson’s American accent struggled at times.

Still, I would agree with the San Francisco Chronicle’s Amy Biancolli when she said: “But somehow, these imperfections fit. Somehow, ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ shouldn’t be flawless. It should be cracked and riddled with human frailty. It should hurt.”

And it does hurt, if you let it. But somehow, that’s the beauty in it all.

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‘Things with Feathers’ opens in 1920 Gallery

Sojourn Photo -- Caas Carby

Things with feathers — Guests visiting the gallery had the opportunity to eat “bird food,” which was provided by the 1920 Gallery.

The 1920 Art Gallery in the Barnes Student Center premiered its first student show of the year, “Things with Feathers,” Monday, Oct. 11.

Katie Walsner (sr), the curator of the 1920 Gallery, said that the show was inspired this past summer from the poem “Hope” by Emily Dickinson. Displayed at the entrance of the show were these lines from the poem:

“Hope is the thing with feathers —

That perches in the soul —

And sings the tune without the words —

And never stops — at all —”

“Things with Feathers” offers a broad range of art pieces. Displays consists of oil and acrylic paintings, ink and watercolor pieces, some photography, a conceptual piece and even stained glass all pertaining to nature and birds.

Bird food, consisting of assorted cereal and dried fruit, was set out for attendees to enjoy as they viewed the creations on opening night.

Walsner organizes all of the student shows for the semester and wants the gallery to be a “creative space where people can come in and soak it all up.”

“I want this to be a welcoming environment,” she added.

The 1920 Gallery uses its space in IWU’s Student Center with creativity. While mostly art students submit their work, anyone is invited to share his or her talent. E-mails are sent out to students whenever the gallery is having a new show; after an e-mailed submission the artist is notified whether it will work with the show or not. If after being displayed the work is sold, 25 percent of profits go to the gallery and the rest go to the artist.

Sojourn Photo -- Caas Carby

Things with feathers — Joshua Whittum (fr) and other students gather to view artwork in the 1920 Gallery during the first art showing of the season.

Roommates Shannon Sutton (jr) and Angela Knisley (jr), who both have paintings displayed, had previously planned this summer to have a vintage theme in their Kem Hall bedroom using birds as accents.

“We had been working on paintings and when we heard about the theme,” Sutton said, “we both agreed that we needed to submit our stuff.”

As student artists, both roommates appreciated the opportunity to showcase their personal pieces for a larger audience.

“It was really cool getting to submit my work to a gallery because I had never done that before.” Knisley said. “This taught me how to make my piece look professional and how to matte and frame it appropriately. It’s a really great opportunity to show my work.”

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Andy Warhol exhibit to be seen in person

Sojourn Photo -- Nils Anderson

Pop Art —The Indianapolis Museum of Art’s Allen Whitehill Clowes special exhibition gallery houses pop artist, Andy Warhol, featuring 150 works in a wide range of media including painting, drawings, sculpture, film, video, and an extensive selection of archival materials.

Pop artist. Filmmaker. Band manager. Andy Warhol has done it all and in turn, succeeded in making himself an enterprise. For the next three months, the Indianapolis Museum of Art will feature more than 300 pieces from Warhol’s massive collection of art, films and advertisements.

The exhibit explores Warhol’s art, beginning with his 1950s ads for companies such as Tiffany & Co. and Dior, and ending with his self-portrait in 1986.

Images such as a dollar bill, which he recreates in a unique way, and a series of red and white Campbell’s soup cans are plentiful in the start of the exhibit. Warhol seemed to favor the dollar bill or the dollar sign throughout his years as a Pop artist.

“[Warhol] helped show that ‘Art’ with a capital ‘A’ was dead, and that formerly beautiful or sublime or Classical subjects could — and should — be replaced with the commercial objects upon which society placed greater value: monetarily,” said Indiana Wesyelan University assistant professor of art Kent Stiles.

Warhol’s portraits portray famous people such as Truman Capote, Dennis Hopper, Dominique de Menil and Marilyn Monroe in a way that is unlike artists that came before. These brightly colored works are a contrast to his early works such as the hand-drawn, subdued colors in his Tiffany & Co. advertisements.

Warhol was not just an artist. He also made films, managed the band the Velvet Underground and founded the magazine “Inter/VIEW”. His works from these media are on display throughout the exhibit alongside various advertisements he created over the years.

“I’m a pretty big Andy Warhol fan,” said a young atendee who identified himself only as Alex. “I like how he plays with ads.” Some of the younger people at the exhibit were Warhol fans, or there with a friend who was a Warhol enthusiast.

Andy Warhol Pop art

Pop Art — The Indianapolis Museum of Art’s Allen Whitehill Clowes special exhibition gallery houses pop artist, Andy Warhol, featuring 150 works in a wide range of media including painting, drawings, sculpture, film, video, and an extensive selection of archival materials.
Sojourn Photo — Nils Anderson

This exhibit is something that can only be experienced. The vibrating effects on the dollar signs cannot be captured in a photograph. Standing face-to-face, literally, with a selfportrait of Warhol that covers a wall is something to be felt and seen, not read.

“The chance to see these works up close— well, that is the sort of experience that cannot be duplicated by a book or PowerPoint,” said Stiles. “To understand this ‘commodity’ angle, you have to see the prints in person.”

Do not worry about running out of time to experience “Andy Warhol Enterprises.” The exhibit is now open and will run at the IMA until January 2011. Admission to the museum, as always, is free but the exhibit is $14. For more information about the exhibit or the museum, visit http://www.imamuseum.org.

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