Image provided by: University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries, Lincoln, NE
About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Oct. 31, 2000)
Ex-plumber constructs complex art using trash
BY DANE STICKNEY_
Dave Stewart’s ascension as
one of Nebraska’s best artists is a
story straight out of Hollywood.
He sold his successful plumb
ing business in Hastings for a cus
todial job in
“The way he fhe lo™1 co!‘
J lege art depart
i . * 1 good Will
thinks and portrays Hunting,
Stewart saw an
a thought or com- the chalkboard
cr and anony
i 11* mitted a fin
ment through his ished piece to
work makes him
i McGehee saw
the most it, he was
interesting artist ^“™pris^}
in Nebraska in my iuI\ was a
said. “It was a
mind.” great piece of
JL A AJLJL AVI • _. |.i
art unlike any
thing my stu
dents had pro
\ m 1 UUCCQ.
Turner McCiehee After
Hastings College revealing his
art department director artistic
r prowess in
unusual way, Stewart decided to
enroll in art classes and has com
pleted every art course offered.
Because his job as a custodian
provides a variety of interesting
artistic material, Stewart's artwork
has an unusual impact
It has drawn critical acclaim
across the state, including his
being named one of Nebraska’s
best artists by the Omaha World
Herald. TWenty-eight of his pieces,
titled “Found Object
Constructions,” are on display at
the Haydon Art Gallery, 335 N. 8th
OU, UI1LU1NUV. lO.
“The art itself is beautiful. H f ,° n
n 1 • l . i . ipated the show
But he is also saying something would be popu
lar as it demands
profound in each of his pieces, ^ave ques
"He poses a
i i . . . * . i statement with
and he is saying it in a lyrical no exact
said. “He just
poetic wav.” leaves “ up
r / you to interpret.
work has depth
Teliza Rodriguez els ijteraiiy and
Haydon Art Gallery director figuratively.
can be classified as assemblage,
with various pictures, advertise
ments and three-dimensional
objects put together to comment
"Those Daring Young Men"
on different aspects of society.
Allusions to cigarettes, patriotism,
women’s rights, technology and
Time and Life magazines abound.
Many pieces look like shadow
boxes - one picture attached to
the glass and another picture to
the back of the box a few inches
behind the glass.
But Stewart's creativity goes
beyond the shadow-box motif.
One piece of art, “Old Gold
Dancing Pack,” consists of a large
cigarette box situated on top of
life-sized mannequin legs.
In another unusual piece,
“Talkin’ Hash," headphones hang
on the wall, their cord leading into
a silver trash can filled with broken
stereo parts. Two halves of a
smashed boom box are at the top
of the trash can; one-half still plays
McGehee said while Stewart
"is not totally different” from
French dadaist Marcel Duchamp
and American Joseph Cornell,
who used everyday objects in their
art, Stewart’s work “is unique in its
“The way he thinks and por
trays a thought or comment
through his work makes him the
most interesting artist in Nebraska
in my mind,” McGehee said.
Said Rodriguez: “The art itself
is beautiful. But he is also saying
something profound in each of his
pieces, and he is saying it in a lyri
cal, poetic way.”
Stewart’s art is easier to under
stand if viewers know the man
behind it, Rodriguez said. Stewart
could not be reached for this story,
but he will attend the exhibit’s
opening reception from 7-9 p.m.
' Friday at the Haydon.
“He is a unique individual,”
Rodriguez said. “He’s always wear
ing overalls with a notepad in his
pocket, so he can write down any
ideas he has.”
McGehee said Stewart is
unlike anyone he has ever met,
and the fact Stewart abandoned
his business to pursue art is proof.
"Dave is a very independent
individual,” he said. “He does
exactly what he wants to do. He
doesn’t need prestige or anything
One thing that Stewart does
need is trash, so he can keep pro
ducing his constructions.
“I have to be very careful about
what I throw away,” McGehee
said. “I have to take it somewhere
else if I don’t want it to be part of
one of Dave’s constructions.”
Moviegoer: Biair Witch sequel a'complete piece of crap'
BY SAMUEL MCKEWON
You play coy- that's die strate
' gy. Like you’ve done this before.
Slide the money over, bite that
lower lip, pray to the god of lenient
A couple of girls tempted fate
for entrance into a late afternoon
showing of “Book of Shadows:
Blair Witch 2” at the Lincoln
Theater. The gods were unkind.
Girl No. 1, the brave one, the
one with the wire frames, retrieved
the money and offered a sheepish
shrug. Her blonde friend blushed.
Denied from the biggest fall movie
event since who knows what.
Denied from the sequel of “The
Blair Witch Project,” a cleverly
marketed and edited horror film.
Made for peanuts, good for
millions, the movie spawned a
movement, a Web site, a couple of
documentaries, two best-selling
books, eBay madness and a bunch
of very pissed-off people in the
town of Burkittsville, Md., site of
the original film, shot nearly fours
years ago. There is nothing to see
in Burkittsville because the movie,
while pitched as a documentary,
was entirely fictional, ingeniously
so, but still quite made up. A far
fetch. A tall tale.
But devoted “Blair Witch” fans
came anyway, hoping for a
glimpse of the legend, maybe one
of those mysterious stick figures
lurking in the woods. These are the
same kind of people who gleefully
enter pyramid scams and own sea
The sequel, as much a depar
ture from the documentary style
of the first as it could be, plays
upon that phenomenon in the
opening scenes, the only ones
worth saving for an alternate film
that ought to exist in place of
unspeakable tragedy that current
ly graces the celluloid.
There’s cut after cut of dis
gruntled Burkittsville residents,
mixed in with aspiring entrepre
neurs, explaining the “Blair Witch”
theory and mass exodus to the
area. It then cuts to a fictional
tourist team, “The Blair Witch
Hunt,” a collection of four Gen
Xers and a tour guide (Jeff
Donovan) crazy enough to believe
this legend might be real.
There are few scenes after the
introduction of the characters that
have any genuine value. "Book of
Shadows” is a walk-out kind of
movie, an incoherent, inter
minable mess that doesn’t deserve
your attention long enough to fig
ure out what's going on.
Better yet, it’s a please-never
go kind of flick. Waste money at
your own risk. To quote Lincoln
Theater employee and UNL soph
omore communications major
Karissa Kumke: “It's a complete
piece of crap.”
Sure is. In almost all the ways a
movie can be. If anything, a horror
movie this gory and laughless
shouldn't be confusing from start
to finish. But “Blair Witch 2” ups
the ante, doubling the confusion
by questioning if anything that
occurs onscreen actually does.
There is no such question in
the original, which builds the ten
sion on the imminent shoe that’s
about to drop on the three student
filmmakers investigating the leg
end (Heather Donahue, Justin
Leonard and Mike Williams). We
know the shoe’s going to drop,
They know it. The intrigue is in
realizing our expectations. This, if
it scared a person, is what scared
diem: Certainty of fate, uncertain
ty of method.
"BlairWitch 2” has the obvious
conclusion, but director/co
writer Joe Berlinger has drawn
these five characters: the guide; a
goth (Kim Director); a couple writ
ing a book (Tristine Skylar and
Stephen Barker Turner); and a
Wiccan (Erica Leehsen) as such
unlikable folk that emotional con
nection is impossible.
Moreover, when odd things go
bad in the woods, and later, in the
guide’s warehouse of a home, we
haven’t reached a level of caring.
Part of it is the acting, which is
bad, so bad, that to watch them
deliver lines turns into a fest of
winces. Not to say the first “Blair
Witch” cast, outside of Donahue,
had a deep gorge of talent, but so
much more acting is required to
be done here. And so much less is
done with it
It plays like a cheap and
bloody B-movie, without the
buxom babes and hunks to offer
as eye candy. The woods scenes
are brief, as the tour group finds
their camp destroyed in the morn
ing and wondering why. They
spend the next hour of the movie
sitting in a warehouse watching
video, occasionally seeing appari
tions. Then, more gore, a slapped
together aftermath and an ending.
A few lingering questions:
Why is the sheriff of the film,
whose name I cannot locate on
any Web site, a long-haired, cow
boy hick of a cop? Why does he
speak in sound bytes that seem
lifted from a Martin Luther King Jr.
speech? Why does the film place
the tour guide in the mental hos
pital as a prologue to the story?
And why, anybody, is the
movie titled, “Book of Shadows”?
There is no book and no shadows
| Blair Witch 2
I Book of Shallows
that have anything to do with the
book that doesn’t exist
The movie played to an audi
ence of about 12 on Monday after
noon, which proves that the
sequel won’t wo^k box-office
magic like the first. Those girls, coy
and blonde, didn’t miss a thing.
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