In 1988, Winton Blount gave forty-one paintings from Blount, Inc.’s collection to the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA). Included in Blount’s gift were three Edward Hopper pictures, one of which would soon become the most popular artwork in the museum. This was ‘New York Office’, an oil painted in 1962 and one of Hopper’s last pictures.
My journey into the heart of the South begins the next day. Like the rumbling FedEx road trains, I am following the Mississippi south to Memphis. The river glistens in the rainy twilight, its massive breadth a reminder of its huge catchment area.
From Austin, I motor up I-35 to Dallas through Texas’s Bible Belt. Towns like West and Waco jam the airwaves with sermons about the holy responsibilities of man and wife and how to ‘get in touch with your spouse.’ The western front of America’s culture wars is a boring place.