In my previous blog, “Why Don’t I do that Anymore?” I listed that I wanted to go back to scouring the Internets for free adventures in Nashville. This is one reason that I adore this city. One can have lots of fun for a low cost.
After many attempts, the last resulting in a car fiasco, I made it to The Frist to see ’30 Americans’ and the Norman Rockwell exhibit. I’m still reeling from the art I had the privilege to view in Nashville.
Another bonus: I invited a long a new Nashville friend. Gotta love a good friend date.
Back to the art: ’30 Americans’ is thought provoking and that is an understatement. Regardless of what you might think, we don’t live in a Post Racial Society. That is, well, BS! Race matters and even though conversations about race are never easy, they are necessary. This exhibit is composed of 70 pieces of art by African American artists. These works of art explore the intersections of race, pop culture, gender, sexuality, class, and the impact those markers have on your identity.
I’ve spent a lot of my life discussing race and I don’t possess the privilege of not thinking about race. I don’t believe in color blindness. I know that my race has had an impact on the outcomes of my life whether good or bad. I want you to see my color and understand the oppression and the privilege that comes with my race. If you bypass that then you’ve missed an entire piece of my lived experience and can never fully know me.
Some of the images are so startling and can almost bring you to tears. The sudden intake of breath as you round the corner to see a circle of Ku Klux Klan hoods sitting on stools with noose hanging from the ceiling. The unfortunate realization that painting an African American family at home behaving in an everyday manner is abnormal and a scene that most people don’t picture for Black families. The horror at visualizing what consumerism has done to the Black community, especially our Black males. These are not things that I didn’t know but, they are made even more apparent when presented in visual form.
I also loved that The Frist took the time to make the exhibit interactive. Viewers could write their feelings on post-it notes. It was powerful to read people’s first reactions. I really loved when younger viewers were engaged in the conversation. I can imagine that this might have been a catalyst for a parent/guardian to begin having the “race” conversation.
I don’t really know that much about art but I enjoy the process of analyzing it and coming up with my personal meaning. I was recently given the advice to treat a museum like a cocktail party. When you go to a cocktail party, you can’t get to know EVERYONE. The best strategy is to take time to get to know 4-5 people. Do the same at an art museum. Connect with 4-5 pieces and not every work in the gallery. You’ll leave feeling like you learned a whole lot more than if you try to squeeze it all in on one visit.
Check out more information here.
After ’30 Americans’, Norman Rockwell didn’t really grasp my attention until I realized how progressive he was during the Civil Rights Movement. The three works, The Problem We All Live With, Southern Justice, and New Kids in the Neighborhood drew me into the display.
’30 Americans’ leaves Nashville on the 12th and I highly recommend it.
So happy I took this Nashville Adventure. Oh, it was free because I’m a Bank of America customer and select museums are free the first weekend of every month for BOA customers. Kinda cool, right?