Why are you here?
Why are you taking this course?
The three questions asked by Professor Manupelli on the first day of class, "Introduction to Cinematography," University of Michigan, circa, 1970.
After an hour of toying with us, stripping us of all ego and pretense, we walked out the door at the end of class with his voice bellowing the one answer to all three questions, "Art, for art's sake!" I will never forget that class, those questions, his answer, nor the enlightening poignancy of spending a semester learning from this man, teacher and artist.
In an interview he did in 2009, he said this about teaching film at U of M:
"I came here in ’62. The curriculum then was drawing, painting, design — period,” Manupelli said. “I tried to get them to do sound as design. You don’t need to be a musician to make music. I didn’t get to teach film for nine years, and (I worked) without pay; I took the deal because I wanted to get at the students.”
Here I am, 44 years later, one of the students in that room and one who will never forget the meaning of,
Art for art's sake.
George Manupelli died in Bethlehem, New Hampshire, where he lived, on Sunday, Sept. 14 at age 82. He was a filmmaker, artist and professor at the University of Michigan School of Art and Design.
Death of a visionary