The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Adam Smith

May 10, 2012

Price paid for Munch’s painting a real ‘scream’


My favorite piece of artwork is one my wife won’t even let me hang in our home. It’s a black velvet painting of a Native American family my dad found in New Mexico.

I’m of the opinion it deserves to be somewhere like the Guggenheim Museum as opposed to collecting dust in our garage. The good thing about a black velvet painting, however, is that I reckon I can just clean it up with a lint roller when and if I’m ever able to hang it again.

As a teenager, I wallpapered my bedroom in rock posters of people like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Led Zeppelin and whatnot. I also removed the traditional overhead light in my room and replaced it with a red light bulb, a move my mother was not particularly fond of.

It was a real trippy experience for a couple of weeks until she made me take it down.

I suppose, being a middle-class southerner, I probably don’t know much about fine home décor, fancy paintings and whatnot. I do have the ability, however, to determine what’s tacky and what isn’t.

For the past several years, I’ve been of the opinion that the king of tacky was actually the “King of Rock and Roll.” If you’ve never been to Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Memphis, you’re missing out on one of the great interior decorating cacophonies of the 20th century.

Though the king is sadly gone, his tastes for all things gold, mirrored and rhinestoned live on an impressive display of wall art and furniture. No matter what the cost, it’s a pilgrimage worth taking.

It’s really not Elvis’ fault, however, as I’m sure we’ve all known rednecks with money. I’ve known some and I might even be related to a few.

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Adam Smith


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