The work of Ronald Lockett, like that of Thornton Dial, Lonnie B. Holley, and others in the Birmingham-Bessemer circle, uses found materials to address environmental, historical, and political themes in ways that go beyond the usual categories.
"In the midst of life we are in death." These familiar words, which marched across sermons and samplers alike in the early decades of the American republic, surely resonated with sixteen-year-old Charlotte Sheldon in the summer of 1796.
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.