Art in the American South
Bailey Richardson

Hey you . . .

Before 1890 you could have purchased Vincent van Gogh’s “Starry Night” for a song.

Stop what you’re doing; go to

I just read Bailey Richardson’s “Art in the American South.” You should, too. Here’s why: It will restore your faith in Art, America and the American South. That sounds like a tall order, especially if you think art is hootie-tootie, belongs in a museum and must be served up with fine wine and smelly cheese.

Take Vincent van Gogh, for instance. You could have had taken all the van Goghs you wanted for a pittance before his death in 1890. It wasn’t considered real art. Paint on a canvas, yes. But “ART,” in the grand sense of that word? Nope. Not gonna happen.

And now? van Gogh’s portraits, selfies, landscapes and still-lifes are as popular, beloved and appreciated as anyone’s from anytime.

My point is this: Art is in the eye of the beholder . . . whether it’s a collection of antique cooking utensils hung unpretentiously on a wall, a time-worn portrait from the Civil War, a life-size Big Boy Burger statue or a pastel color weight-loss machine that leaves the user’s body flapping loudly in the wind.

It’s all that — and more.

“Art in the American South” has a Ken Burns/National Public Radio quality to it, in that good way. (Sort of a slide show with sound track.) Though I had some misfires with the interface, it was great once the show started. Perhaps the best summary of this project comes from one of the people interviewed: “Earth without art is Eh,” she said.

Experience “Art in the American South.” Then put some art in your Earth.

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