Time to Leave America: Still Wracked with Guilt about the Civil Rights Museum

Sunday 8th March 2020

It was nearly time to mount the air for London in World Traveller Plus Class. That was going to be freezing cold as well. But how was I to know I’d have to get my Zara coat down from the locker? Ned and Peter promoted the Aquarium for my final day. They said there was a huge glass wall with a shark behind it… such a feature.

I should mention the High Museum in Atlanta. I visited a day or two before departure. Yes, there was a Mrs High who loved Art in a coffee morning sort of way and started a museum in her house. Now it’s major and Richard Meier did the extension. The trouble is if vast numbers of school children are kettled in the atrium the racket booms through the entire place: not a single quiet room. A good collection: you think there’s going to be just the one Monet but there are more. The same with Sisley, Manet, Matisse etc. Intermittent displays of English china, early American furniture etc. Then we come to the self-taught artists department: marvellous, especially their names such as Nellie Mae Rowe. I just love this sort of thing: these artists cared nothing for the public, or the museums or the world of art-buying. They just went on and on producing works of art according to their own lights, as they saw fit. One of themĀ got famous on TV in the 70s – but that was an accident. His garden was crammed with art works. It was a kind of mania and some visitors were alarmed. But really such a flow, such a force… incredible.

But flash forward to that final day. I rock up at the Aquarium. Really it was just to be usefully occupied before boarding at 9pm for London. $45, they say, for entrance. My card doesn’t work. I pledge to get cash from a machine but in the interval change my mind. The Civil Rights Museum is across the way. Who knew? And only $21. Card works and I’m in. Well, it was a great museum. Much less random than the Martin Luther King Visitor Centre. You can sit at a counter and put on headphones and get a re-creation of what a black person might have experienced peacefully protesting at a Whites Only lunch counter – even the sensation of the chair moving and a raving White person breathing in your ear. I couldn’t bear the full duration. The presentation of the end of poor Martin Luther King – the terrible run-down motel in Memphis, the wretchedness and misery of it all. No wonder he had to have sex as a recreation to relieve anxiety. Who can blame him? The many others that died for the cause… in one of the rooms a black woman approached me to admire my Zara coat. I feared a telling off.

Nelli Mae Roe: Self-Taught. Self-Portrait as a Little Girl Doll

The High Museum: Nellie Mae Roe: Self-Taught. Self-Portrait as a Little Girl Doll

Mary Proctor: The Obamas

Mary Proctor: The Obamas: Another Self-Taught

Bill Traylor: Untitled. He died 1949: between the age of 85 and 89 he produced 1200 drawings of vibrant life in Montgomery Alabam

Bill Traylor: Untitled. He died 1949: between the age of 85 and 89 he produced 1200 drawings of vibrant life in Montgomery Alabama. Self-Taught

Cecilia Beaux: 1855 to 1942. American Woman Artist

Cecilia Beaux: 1855 to 1942. American Woman Artist

Unusual John Singer Sargent:

Unusual John Singer Sargent:

I Thought I was so Clever and this must be Same Artist as seen in Belvedere Vienna when Conducted by Reggie Cresswell. But it Isn't. Same Extraordinarly Intense Trees: This is Albert Bierstadt. Vienna one Was Waldmuller: See July 2015

I Thought I was so Clever and this must be Same Artist as seen in Belvedere Vienna when Conducted by Reggie Cresswell. But it Isn’t. Same Extraordinarily Intense Trees: This is Albert Bierstadt. Vienna one was Waldmuller: See July 2015

Posted Sunday, March 8, 2020 under Adrian Edge day by day.

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