Thursday, September 1, 2011

Overlooked in Flyover Country

Living between the coastal regions, in “flyover country”, you get used to being dissed and overlooked. Doubly so if you live in my state. (It's surprising how many people in the US think New Mexico is a foreign country!) It's not a recent phenomenon, either — there's a reason Aldous Huxley placed the Savage Reservation of Brave New World (published in 1932) in New Mexico. Living here, we learn to expect it.

But then, once in a while something gets written that both captures and satirizes that view of New Mexico and the rest of flyover country. Today there's a new example of that in an article titled “Cry in the Wild Goes Unheeded” in the Albuquerque Journal.

At issue is a painting called “St. Francis in the Desert” and the exhibit featuring it at the gallery of the Frick Collection in New York.Giles Pennington, retired in the New Mexico town of Los Ojos, says he found in 1999 where Giovanni Bellini in around 1480 set this painting. His finding doesn't match what many of the traditional art “experts” say.

When he heard about the exhibit, he contacted the curator. He got a reply, and when he read it,

I realized what the curator was thinking: How could a retired guy from a mountainside overlooking a lake in northern New Mexico know more than we do about our painting?
I can't do Mr Pennington's piece justice. Just go read it.

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