CA: The Best New Place in Memphis
The Best New Place in Memphis: If you want a boost of local pride, head to the Brooks Museum, where small, adjacent galleries dedicated to homeboys William Eggleston and Carroll Cloar (the latter debuted on Saturday) might be one of the best places in Memphis right now. I talked to Brooks director Emily Neff (you can see her TEDx Memphis talk here) about showcasing these signature artists back in April:
“When I went off to college, you’d bring the things you love in poster form to decorate your dorm room. I had my favorite posters from my local museum,” Neff said. “I would like kids from Memphis to feel the same sense of ownership about the art works that belong to them.”
As far as local artists, one special exhibition, starting in June, will spotlight Veda Reed, one of the last living artists from a mid-century “golden age” of Memphis College of Art. New gallery space opened up by renovations will expand the museum’s current revolving exhibit of their permanent collection works of twin titan Memphis photographers Ernest Withers and Williams Eggleston. A new space will be devoted to painter Carroll Cloar “and friends.”
“These are really important people. There is a lot that is unique to the Brooks,” said Neff. “I don’t want someone to visit Memphis and not see the works of Eggleston, Withers and Cloar.”
Eggleston’s groundbreaking color photos, including that famous green tricycle, lead you into a bright new space that features some of the best of Cloar, the Arkansas-born, Memphis-based painter who died in 1993, including, at the end of the narrow, two-room gallery, a privileged placement of Cloar’s gorgeous “Where the Southern Cross the Yellow Dog.” There are about a dozen Cloar works, including some sketches, paired with antique Tennessee furniture. See Eggleton’s roadside Gulf sign and Graceland-set consideration of Elvis and JFK. See Cloar’s menacing white sheets under a Halloween moon or father as big as a tree. Everyone knows great are came from Memphis. Not everyone knows it was more than music. This little corner of the city is a must-visit.