In a better world we would all be thronging the doors of the Newark Museum; in the best of worlds Ulysses Grant Dietz would be there to meet us, taking us through the galleries with fellow curators Christa Clarke and Katherine Anne Paul
Can there be more than one Robert Hicks operating out of a cabin called “Labor in Vain” somewhere near Nashville, Tennessee? You might be forgiven for thinking so. The Robert Hicks whose essay appears below is also a best-selling novelist (The Widow of the South, A Separate Country, and the forthcoming The Orphan Mother); a former music publisher and artist manager for a range of genres, from country to alt rock; a maker of award-winning, hair-raising small batch bourbon; a preservationist whose focus is on Civil War sites, including the battlefield at Franklin, Tennessee; and a collector of southern material culture with a unique sense of what collecting can mean in the South.
Three New Orleans museums and two community cultural institutions draw visitors from afar by keeping the focus on indigenous artistry.
Is it just me or is Dennis Miller Bunker's painting Wild Asters more than beautiful (Fig. 1)? The blue stream rushes under us, grasses bending in the current, and the streamside bushes spray on either bank. The natural world is so near, we can hear and smell it-the trill of the water and the scent of the asters and grass and even of the sun.