norman rockwell museum and berkshire botanical garden

by sam on 09/16/2010

Labor day weekend, we took a break from our normal routine of doing as little as possible, and spent an afternoon at the Norman Rockwell Museum and the Berkshire Botanical Garden. Pictures aren’t allowed inside the Museum, so I don’t have anything except the sign below, but it was the first time I had been to the museum and was really struck by how much more…well-rounded…Rockwell was as an artist than his most well-known Saturday Evening Post americana would suggest. I (of course) had seen some of his civil-rights era art before, most notably, The Problem We All Live With, but “Southern Justice” stopped me in my tracks.

I was really shocked by it. Of course, even without looking at the title, I knew exactly what it was in reference to, but more than that, both in content and in style, it’s incredibly different from anything we “expect” when we think about Rockwell. I’m pretty sure I stared at it for about 10 minutes, just devastated. I also took a brief tour that was given, and the guide (who clearly loved his work), talked about the fact that Rockwell chafed for years against the Saturday Evening Post edict that people of color were only ever to be depicted in positions of servitude toward whites. Which explains why this painting was done for Look magazine.

Changing subjects, the following are the photos that I actually took, at the Berkshire Botanical Garden. They had three specific exhibits going on – one dealing with chairs, one dealing with dogs, and one where these little cabins were decorated extravagantly. That should make these photos pretty self-explanatory.

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