It’s been crazy long since I’ve published at DFK — and even longer since I was in the habit of doing a ‘Various’ post, but I’m ready to get back into it. Here are some bits:
above: from a visit we made to the Pope home in 2012
The Pope Store Museum in Ochlocknee, Georgia is having an open house Saturday, December 14 from 6-9p with $20 donations/car going to further the restoration of Laura Pope Forester’s works there.
The WSJ on the Folk Poetry of Home Movies (you may be prompted for a subscription on that link) on the Private Lives, Public Spaces exhibit that just opened at MoMA:
Artists, celebrities, world travelers, and the public at large, using 16- and 8-millimeter equipment, employed this unregulated, democratic form of personal filmmaking to produce work that is by turns vigorous, sentimental, frank, and sometimes transgressive. Sadly, these films were also rarely preserved and commonly abandoned, often ending up as flea market curios or stock footage as more consumer-friendly video formats arrived in the 1980s. Private Lives Public Spaces, the Museum’s first gallery installation of home movies and amateur films drawn exclusively from its collection, shines a light on a seldom-recognized cinematic revolution.
Do not do not do not miss the Nick Cave: Feat. exhibit there which just opened and will be on through Feb 16, 2020.
Feat. was at the Frist last year, and here’s my post from that exhibit, if you’d like a peak. I can’t help myself:
William Eggleston in the Real World is now available on DVD and VOD.
While we’re on photography, Ernst Haas: Visionary Color is *everything*.
The Minister’s Treehouse in Crossville, Tennessee — it had been officially closed to visitors for years but unofficially I think people were still getting in — burned to the ground last week. From AD:
The house was supported by an 80-foot white oak tree and stretched up to five stories to include 80 rooms, including classrooms, bedrooms, and a kitchen. A snaking staircase linked the floors, and in true Southern tradition, there was a large wraparound porch. The interiors married quirkiness with spirituality, showcasing an intricately carved pulpit with wooden pews, a towering cross, and a hand-carved Bible.
Frederick Douglass: Embers of Freedom is on view at SCAD Museum of Art through Jan 5, 2020.
Artist Isaac Julien acknowledges not only the power of Douglass’ ideas, but also his extraordinary presence as the most photographed American of the 19th century. Douglass had a clear understanding of slavery and the cultural and political forces that impacted the world in which he lived, and his work on behalf of human rights continues to inspire us today.
Isaac Julien is a pioneer of the art of the moving image who, since the early 1990s, has innovated a distinctive non-linear, multiscreen form of storytelling. Drawing from painting, architecture, photography, performance, and sound design, Julien constructs poetic narratives of hybrid scenes that create a space for meditation on political and cultural questions.
above: at St. Michael’s in Convent, Louisiana, a pic I took in 2012
At the Washington Post: What’s wrong with assigning books — and kids — reading levels and yes it seems odd that The Grapes of Wrath has a Lexile of 680 (3rd-4th grade), TKAM is 870 (4th-6th gr), and Diary of a Wimpy Kid is 950 (5th-9th). Some extreme examples here, though.
Nice: Rare Square Books (above Square Books Jr) has opened in Oxford.
above: Bryant’s Grocery in Money, Mississippi
Tallahatchee River (Glendora) Emmett Till historic marker gets bulletproof cover.
The 30′ mural of Leah Chase at the new terminal at MSY — Leah’s Kitchen will be there, as will Angelo Brocato’s, Folse Market, Lucky Dogs (duh), Ye Olde College Inn, and several others.
above: I once had a bite of a fried Oreo at the Sucarnochee Folk Life Festival in Livingston, Alabama. Once.
The new options in food at the Texas State Fair this year included a stuffed (with dirty rice, cream sauce, grilled shrimp) turkey leg — which sounds amazing; fried potato salad; and a jell-o shot made up of champagne & chablis, watermelon jello, with jalapeno slices on top.
The William Louis-Dreyfus Foundation is selling 40 (!!) works by Bill Traylor (via David Zwirner Gallery, priced between $60k-500k), to benefit the Harlem Children’s Zone.
WLD’s daughter Julia says in the NYT, “He really likened Traylor to the greats — the Giacomettis, the Kandinskys.” Jeffrey Gilman, president of the foundation, remarks “We’re hoping for the art market to see this as great contemporary art and not just as outsider art…Given Zwirner’s position in the contemporary art market, we’re hoping he can introduce this to a larger audience.”
Regarding the proceeds of the sale of these works by a former slave going to the Harlem Children’s Zone, Louis-Dreyfus said a few years ago: “There is something terribly natural, terribly right, about having the Bill Traylor collection turn into money for his progeny.”
A historic marker honoring Bill Traylor was dedicated last week in Montgomery.
above: white sauce on chicken at Greenbrier
The ‘A Taste Through Time’ Celebrating 200 Years of Alabama Food earlier this month at the governor’s mansion included barbecue with six different regional sauces and one of them was spicy orange from east Alabama…and I would like to know more about that. Who/where?
The Slotin Folk Art Auction is November 9-10. I bought a great Sybil Gibson from them several years ago. Included next month are some nice Finsters including George Washington, and a shadowbox, and a BF Perkins porch swing.
above: the Sims monument in Montgomery
New York is wrestling with its own monuments issue, but this time regarding *new* ones — a movement afoot to establish several, with an emphasis on people historically overlooked for such honors.
Side note: a few years ago when the issue of looking over existing monuments came up, the only one taken down was that of J. Marion Sims, the 19th-century man considered the ‘father of gynecology’. In NY, he founded the Women’s Hospital, then helped found the NY Cancer Hospital which today is Sloane-Kettering. He undertook unspeakable experiments — ~30 surgeries on one woman in particular — in his work to find a cure for what was then considered a “hopeless malady” (and one that millions of women in certain parts of the world still suffer with), and the artist who was initially chosen to create a new work where his monument had stood named hers “After Anarcha, Lucy, Betsey, Henrietta, Laure, and Anonymous” after the women who had been subjected to those procedures.
That artist eventually stepped aside, and Vinnie Bagwell was awarded the job. The name of her monument: ‘Victory Beyond Sims’.
A monument of Sims, who was in Alabama for some time before moving to New York, is on the grounds of the capitol in Montgomery.
‘5 Southern Plays You Should Have Read Already’ is a thing, and of course includes ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof’ but what I really want to talk about are these laser-cut book jackets.
Jerry Saltz and Justin Davidson on the MoMA revamp, via Vulture, is good stuff.
J.D.: The second problem is sound. Especially in mixed-media galleries: I paused in front of Jasper Johns’s Flag, where a handful of people were talking in low voices, and there’s a pocket of resonance in that corner that’s practically crypt-like. Plus I heard two different soundtracks coming from the gallery to my left and a third coming from a Merce Cunningham clip to my right. I believe excessive exposure to that kind of acoustic confusion eventually leads to psychosis.
…and Saltz saying: I recall cascades of architect argot about micro galleries, auto-critique, institutional interfacing with the city, surgical interventions, gestures of variation on the white cube and the black box, social and performative space, and “a large new architecturally significant staircase.” Then Liz Diller actually talked about how her spaces were for “installations … performance, lectures, different kinds of events” and “certainly not paintings on a wall.” I recall thinking, Oh, my God, more of that old 1980s painting-is-dead nonsense.
Super-random: Saltz has a mention of how great WPA post office works are.
So much love for this one I took a pic of in Crystal Springs, Mississippi:
Justin Devillier’s new cookbook, The New Orleans Kitchen, is out. His La Petite Grocery is one of my faves, and Balise (now shuttered) was one of the great breakfasts of my life. Balise had an impressive collection of Butch Anthony works. Justin’s newest restaurant is Justine, on Chartres.
above: this blue crab omelette from Balise was EVRAthang
Speaking of Butch, I didn’t see him at Kentuck this year and didn’t think the lineup was either as true to what Kentuck is/was supposed to be (tons of self-taught, visionary art) or it has changed overall, and I’m deeply missing the vibe that was there when Lonnie would make things on the fly, and Jimmy Lee Sudduth sold paintings while sitting under a tree, and Amos cranked out letterpress. It was too much ‘cute’ this year. Dang.
above: One of Butch Anthony’s intertwangalisms on view at Balise before its close
BTW, Lonnie has been on tour (if I remember, he’s either in or just back from South America), and Amos Kennedy is killing it everywhere he goes. Rockstar.
Artist John Henry Toney passed away October 24.
above: from a 2010 visit we made
Brad Pitt and Make It Right Foundation are facing lawsuit in New Orleans for “shoddy construction” and wow you have to think that this is going to give people serious pause about putting themselves on the frontlines of spearheading this kind of thing. Not that there aren’t deep issues with the design/construction (MIR actually sued its primary architect) — and remember that the residents did pay for their homes, they weren’t gifted. Ouch all the way around.
If you’re in the right kind of mood to read Pete Wells eviscerate Peter Lugar Steak House in Brooklyn, with mention that “the Department of Motor Vehicles is a block party compared with the line at Peter Luger,” shrimp cocktail tastes like “cold latex,” and even Nietzsche gets evoked, here you go.
above: from a visit in 2015. No photography is allowed inside.
The Rothko Chapel in Houston won’t open until late spring 2020 now, due to a discovery that the building’s structural support needs to be reinforced with steel rebar.
above: I photographed this (short-lived) Banksy in Birmingham in 2008
Banksy Captured, a photobook by his former art dealer Steve Lazarides, will be released in December. It contains hundreds of images of the art & artist (obscured) never before seen by the public, from the years 1997-2008.
above: B’s Cracklin in Savannah, from January this year
The B’s Cracklin BBQ in Atlanta burned down months ago, but reappears with counter service at the new Beltline Kroger. I went to the Savannah B’s Cracklin earlier this year and really did not enjoy it, from the blase food to the prickly cashier. They have so many fans, though, I surely just went on an ‘off’ day.
A new biography of Janis Joplin, Janis: Her Life and Music, was released last week.
above: from a Waffle House visit in 2013
Foie gras will no longer be sold in NYC beginning in 2022. But completely unrelated, the Popeye’s chicken sandwich is back on November 3. And completely unrelated to that, Waffle House has a Poet Laureate.
above: perfect for places like Abbeville, Alabama, which has the Huggin’ Molly
The ‘Legends & Lore’ marker program is expanding. From their website:
Established in 2015, the Legends & Lore grant program helps communities celebrate their local folklore and legends with roadside markers. This unique marker program is the only nationwide effort of its kind. Legends & Lore gives communities the opportunity to commemorate a part of their local cultural heritage that might not typically be found on a historic roadside marker. Some of the newest Legends & Lore marker examples are Champy the lake monster in New York State, the Ballad of Naomi Wise in North Carolina and the Alderson Lion named “French” in West Virginia.
above: Margaret’s Grocery, from a visit in 2005
From Bitter Southerner: The Kingdom of Heaven is a Country Store, on Margaret’s Grocery and efforts to preserve the site
above: El Rancho in Cactus, from a visit we made in 2005
“Somebody should photograph all this vanishing Texas before it’s forever lost.” at Texas Highways
Podcasting: Dolly Parton’s America
Ruby City, the contemporary art center, has opened in San Antonio. The website makes a point of how the founder, Linda Pace, shared her architectural dream design with Sir David Adjaye, buuuuuttttt.
above: pinpointed on Memphis at the National Ornamental Metal Museum
Kelundra Smith writes This Excellent Memphis Restaurant Neighborhood Is Reinventing Food Activism for Food & Wine. and includes mention of a bakery where the employees are parents in families transitioning out of homelessness. At Global Cafe, a cafeteria:
“People try the food and then they ask about our culture and our country,” said Fayha Sakkan, whose chicken kabob and okra and beef stew are two of the day’s most popular dishes. “Then, they start to wish us happy holiday when they know it’s a Muslim holiday. Everyone is like family here.”
above: the Old Monroe County Courthouse, from a visit we made in 2006
Yes Yes Yes, from The Guardian:
The hit Broadway play of To Kill a Mockingbird, adapted by The West Wing writer Aaron Sorkin, is to open in London, it has been confirmed. The play will arrive in the West End in spring 2020, marking the 60th anniversary of the publication…
Richard Thomas will star in the national TKAM tour.
Also: Partners in Preservation (via the National Trust for Historic Preservation and AmEx) has awarded $125k to the Monroe County Courthouse for structural work to preserve the site. This is the site the TKAM courthouse was based on. Among the other winners: the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace in Savannah.
above: the peach cobbler at Mary Mac’s in Atlanta
The AJC did this ummmm completely unnecessary video to communicate that Thanksgiving at the James Beard House is a thing, and this year, will be catered by the Culinary Institute of Myrtle Beach. For dessert, they’re serving something called “cobbler with consequences” and doesn’t that just (also unnecessarily) sound like it will amp up any weird built-in family T’giving vibes? Hilarious!
“Everything was going great ’til they served cobbler with consequences”
“Cobbler with consequences?”
“Yeah. Then it all just fell apart with Uncle Greg. He’d been holding on to some things.”
On view at the Hudgens Center in Atlanta (Duluth), now through November 23 is Delta Hill Riders: Photographs by Rory Doyle. From the photographer’s site:
This ongoing series explores the subculture of African American cowboys and cowgirls in the rural Mississippi Delta — a far cry from the Wild West. A recent article from Smithsonian estimated that one in four cowboys were African American during the Civil War — yet this population was drastically under-represented in popular accounts. This project sheds light on a band of horse riders historically overlooked.
above: the stellar exhibit of Christenberry at the Mobile Museum of Art in ’17
The Ogden Museum of Southern Art has announced that they have acquired a grouping, Christenberry’s Ten Southern Photographs, taken between 1978 and 1981 in Hale County. These are large-scale images. Their exhibit on view through March 1, 2020, Memory is a Strange Bell, includes 125 of his works.
The Ogden has also acquired iHome (2012) and Sleepy Church (2014), two archival pigment prints by RaMell Ross from Ross’ South County, AL (A Hale County) project. It is that project that brought about the documentary Hale County, This Morning, This Evening. A solo exhibit of Ross’ work will open at the museum in Oct 2020.
Friends, there’s so much more I want to share with you, and I want to get back to almost-daily posts. I’ve sorely missed connecting this way, and are so grateful to those of you who have reached out, asking me to get this going again! xoxo!