Sunday, January 20, 2013

Rockin' Well

After St. Louis, we headed west to Sacramento to see B's family.  We spent an afternoon at the Crocker Art Museum, taking in the Norman Rockwell exhibit.  I took photos until I got busted by a security guard, which created a mini-scene wherein two bystanders got involved claiming that there was no sign up and blah blah.  Um, thanks.  The whole time B stood by, when he should have hightailed it like he didn't know me.  That way at least one of us could keep taking photos!  We've got to get our in cahoots down!

I feel bad for Rockwell.  Or for his memory, at least.  I don't think he gets the respect he deserves.  First, he has chops.  His paintings are good.  But he also earns a place in my imaginary Big Book of Great American Artists for his capturing the minutiae of middle America's daily life.  Time stands still.  These are snapshots done as paintings, telling stories with their details.  Yeah, it's a little bougie but don't hate.  You want the other side of the coin, go ground yourself in some Dorothea Lange.

He was famous for his Saturday Evening Post covers (all--and I mean ALL--of which were on display at the Crocker), and this is how he made his dollar-dollahs.  It's easy to dismiss him as too commercial for his ties to the magazine.  But looking at all of the art he produced over 47 years for the periodical, it's a wonder to see the styles and the attitudes and the concerns of the country changing before your eyes.  When he was finished at the Evening Post, Look Magazine allowed him to take on social issues, as he was way more progressive than the Evening Post would allow.  For example, The Problem We All Live With.  Rockwell was a pretty liberal guy for his times.  Betcha didn't realize that.

I came away from the exhibit with mad respect for Mr. Rockwell.  I don't care what the critics say.

Thankfully I got this snap in before the guard found me.  Here's Rockwell posing his dog Butch for a study for the painting Going and Coming.  You can see more charming shots of Rockwell working with dogs here.  Go check the link!  You won't regret it!

Of course the circus dog in the ruff got me.