Friday, February 27, 2015

The Songs of the Fifty States: North Carolina!

(What is "The Songs of the Fifty States"?)

Ships, a piece by North Carolina book artist Anita Francis.

North Carolina!

Size: 53,819 km2 (28th)

2014 Population: 9,943,964 (9th)

Statehood: 1789 (12th).  Succeeded 1861; readmitted 1868.

American Human Development Index: 4.47 (37th)

Art Mecca: Listen, I drove through North Carolina on an afternoon and the following morning about 25 years ago, and I remember nothing about it but an encounter with a preternaturally loud and low-flying military jet.  I'm certainly no authority on the arts scene in the state.  But a cursory review of North Carolingian art museums suggests something like the following narrative: Before the second world war, there was no public art in North Carolina.  In the last 75 years, and right up to the present day, the state's cultural infrastructure has been playing catch-up to the rising star of its overall prosperity.

At least, when I read that "The North Carolina Museum of Art (NCMA)... opened in 1956 as the first major museum collection in the country to be formed by State legislation and funding," my first guess is not that North Carolina was consolidating its position in the advance guard of the fine arts. My first guess is that movers and shakers in North Carolina were tired of being regarded as backwoods yokels who could not collectively pool enough sophistication to host a building full of expensive paintings, and turned to the government to finance a project for which private capital had failed to step up. Well, that's what governments are for, right?

The initial acquisitions budget was a cool million, which went further in the fifties than it does today, and various foundations and local organizations chipped in to get NCMA off the ground. The result looks to be a pretty-good collection along the lines of other regional art museums, with lesser works by top-flight artists like, say, Titian, Raphael, Brueghel, Rubens, van Dyck, Diebenkorn, Giacometti, and so on. For electives, they've chosen African and Egyptian and -- a new one on me -- Judaic ("one of only two galleries devoted to Judaica in an American art museum")!

It's in Raleigh, open late on Fridays and closed Mondays of course. As a legacy of its don't-call-it-socialism origin as an organ of the state, it's free! FREE!!!

Michael 5000's North Carolina

First Visited: June 2, 1994 (27th)
Most Recently Visited: June 3, 1994 (47th)

First Run In: n/a
Best Run: n/a

Have Admired the Visual Arts In: No.
Have Geohashed In: No.
Have Slept Overnight In: Yes.

Counties Visited: 18/100 (27th)
% Complete: 18% (41st)

Mrs. 5000's Counties Visited: 10/100 (39th)
% Complete: 10% (47th)
Mrs.5000 First Visited: Unknown
Mrs.5000 Most Recently Visited: Unknown

Atlas of All Roads Travelled

Plans and Aspirations

I would love to visit the Carolinas, Tennessee, and Kentucky, the states where I have least of real experience.  I even had a trip planned a few years back, but I cancelled it due to a terrible weather differential between there and home.  Someday I hope to spend a week or so zipping around and accruing counties.

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

So they succeeded in their secession in 1861, but failed to achieve long-term success because the motion to secede was reversed successfully in 1868.