The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, September 27, 2000, Page 8, Image 8

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    Page 8 Daily Nebraskan Wednesday, September 27,2000
t first glance, a haphazard arrangement of what seems to be garage-sale left
/■ overs fill a room inside the Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery.
But as visitors step deeper into the gallery, a closer look reveals that m
y I these random, everyday, around-the-house objects are in fact pieces in the
JL Sheldon’s latest art exhibit this fall.
Painted, wooden replicas of suburbanite stuff, like a lawn chair, a nose hair trim
mer and an exercise bike, draw both positive and negative views of American success.
The exhibit, “Conrad Bakker: Art and Objecthood,” runs until Nov. 5 outside the Mary
Riepma Ross Theater.
An art professor at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., Conrad Bakker said his artwork
explores the relationship between consumers and material objects.
"People map themselves by the things they own,’’ he said.
Although his life-size sculptures of life jackets, lawn sprinklers and sandals seem realistic,
Bakker said he slightly exaggerated and altered the pieces for effect.
“It’s not expressiveness I’m after. It’s how objects play with the body’s knowledge of
things,” he said.
“I’m not about realism. Out of the comer of your eye, it looks real, but the closer you get,
you get a fractured version of an object. I like to see what happens to the viewer, to their ideas
about the object,” Bakker said.
After receiving his bachelor’s of fine arts in 1992 from Calvin College,
Bakker then studied painting and sculpture, receiving his master’s of fine
arts in 1996 at the School of Art at Washington University in St. Louis.
With his master’s of fine arts in 1996, Bakker returned to Calvin College
to teach. That’s when he began to artistically copy objects.
Bakker said he first painted replicas of vacation photos and eventu
ally turned to wood as his medium. a
“I’ve been interested in objects forever,” he said. “I’m blurring A
where the art began. The objects are clunky and awkward and
falling apart.”
Bakker intentionally distorts these mass-produced items to
shut the viewers attention Irom the artists technical ability to
the object’s symbolic value. k A
Dan Siedell, the Sheldon’s curator, said Bakker’s pieces
related to people through memories and experiences.
"This is the stuff that clutters our lives,” Siedell said. “It
gives our lives meaning. (The exhibit) forces us to look at a
non-art object and give it meaning.”
John Wenderoth, a UNL graduate art student, met Bakker last week when the
exhibit was set up.
“His art is fun to look at,” Wenderoth said. “It registers as a real thing, but as
you approach it, you see it’s not functional. It's interesting in both idea and
Bakker uses the "cul-de-sac,” a shape similar to a light bulb, to
serve as a metaphor for isolation and connection in many of his
pieces. This shape, used in designing American suburban neigh
borhoods, appears in the negative space in the “Life Jacket,”
“Lawn Sprinkler” and “Race Track.”
“It’s a suburban goal to live in a cul-de-sac,” Siedell said.
“It’s a ready-made community. But it’s also a yuppie cul
ture." j
Siedell also said the pieces represented both the
blessing and curse of American success.
Pieces like “Life Jacket” and “Lawn Sprinkler”
spur ideas of leisure activities like sailing or car
ing for the yard, but these objects also prompt
fears of drowning or the pressure between
competitive neighbors, Siedell said.
“Bakker is not trying to force us to
think different about the object,”
Siedell said. “He just wants us to
think about the object, to con
nect with our recollections
and nostalgia.”
artist uses interpretations
of common items
as symbols of American success
Shankar brings Indian music tradition to Lied
■ Because of lack of name recognition, the
daughter of the famous Indian sitarist,called
world-class, hasn't drawn crowds to the box office.
Few musical traditions can be traced to 1,000
year-old musical roots.
One exception is in the music of India, which
has been passed from performers to apprentices
for hundreds of years.
The next great musician in traditional Indian
music, sitarist Anoushka Shankar, will play at the
Lied Center for Performing Arts tonight.
Anoushka Shankar holds the distinction of
being the only sitar player to be entirely trained by
her father, Ravi Shankar. Ravi Shankar helped bring
Indian music to the United States in the late 1960s
with performances at the Monterrey Pop Festival
and Woodstock.
Ravi Shankar’s relationship with the Beatles,
specifically George Harrison, exposed even more
Americans to the music.
Despite an increased awareness by Western
countries, Indian music has not changed much,
said University of Nebraska-Lincoln Professor
Randall Snyder.
Snyder, a music theory composition professor,
said the music of India is similar to jazz.
"Indian music includes a great deal of improvi
sation, even more so than jazz music,” Snyder said.
The improvisation, Snyder said, comes
between the sitar and the drums, called tablas.
“Tablas are different from any other drum in the
world,” Snyder said. “The drums are tuned to actu
al notes to play along with the sitar.”
Since most of the music is based on improvisa
tion, Snyder i
said the songs '- -. .
are based on r
-ragas.” Anoushka
Different ragas Shankar
are played for n . .
different times r6nOriT\8nC6
of the year, dif- ^ —■■■'■ 1
ferent days of —( Where: Lied Center
the week and v,
even different __301 N-12Bl
emotions. —Q/VhenjTonight @ 7:30
Indian musi- SB
cians spend -(Cost:gp£Q-$28,
years learning
and perfecting
these ragas. L-__—
Shankar’s performance at the Lied will demon
strate years of training with Ravi Shankar.
Anoushka Shankar started training with her father
at the age of 9 and made her debut at 13.
Snyder said making a debut at that early of an
age was impressive.
“Some musicians can spend 15 to 20 years
apprenticing,” he said.
Anoushka Shankar released her self-titled
debut CD in 1998 on Angel Records. Angel is home
to such renowned artists as Sarah Brightman.
“Anourag,” Anoushka Shankar’s second CD, was
released this year to more critical acclaim. Like the
first CD, the songs on “Anourag” were written by her
Charles Bethea, executive director of the Lied ,
said the performance was originally scheduled to
include both Ravi and Anoushka Shankar, but Ravi
Shankar’s heart problems have kept him from per
Bethea said the lack of a recognizable name has
hurt ticket sales.
‘‘Many people want to come and see a big-name
act,” he said, "but having a performer of Anoushka’s
caliber is a big deal for us.”
Before the 7:30 p.m. performance, a talk will be
held with Phani Tej Adidam, a tanpura player from
Omaha. Adidam will also perform before Anoushka
goes on stage.
Bethea credits the Indian student organization
RAAG, a group committed to promoting Indian
classical music, arts and culture in Lincoln, with
helping set up Anoushka’s performance and the
Carl O'Grady/DN
talk with Adidam. No RAAG members were avail
able for comment.
“An opportunity to work with a group like RAAG
is always great,” Bethea said. “It gives us a chance to
communicate with a segment of the population we
wouldn’t normally have contact with.”
Snyder hopes student organizations such as
RAAG and the Lied Center can continue to bring
internationally renowned artists such as Anoushka
Shankar to Nebraska.
“It is an honor to have world-class performanc
es coming to our state,” he said.