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Great Gift Ideas For The Holiday—Books On Texas Regional Art

(Blogger’s Note–This is a rerun of a post I ran last summer. I’ve made it current by suggesting you buy the above books as a holiday gift. The first time I ran this post it fell flat in terms of traffic to the blog. And here I was figuring there was a pent-up demand for Texas regional art of the New Deal era that was just waiting for a blogger to express it for the general public. Everyday life has value. These books give everyday life and everyday people they respect they merit by viewing how we live as a subject worth being painted and written about. I hope folks are having a nice holiday season and thank you very much for reading Texas Liberal.)

I’ve bought two art books in recent weeks that show Texans working together and respecting the land and culture of the Lone Star state.

These two books are shown above as they are being read by two members of the Texas Liberal Panel of Experts.

On the left, Extinct–A woolly mammoth–is reading Alexandre Hogue–An American Visionary.

On the right, Cactus is reading The Texas Post Office Murals-Art For The People.

Both of these titles are published by Texas A & M University.

Alexandre Hogue lived 1898-1994. He spent most of his life in Texas and New Mexico.

From the excellent Handbook of Texas Online-

“(Hogue) is best known for his paintings of the Dust Bowl of the American Southwest during the Great Depression. Most of his work on this subject is from the 1930s, but the theme of natural balance-and the resulting environmental disasters when humans fail to respect that balance-is found throughout his work.”

Alexandre Hogue’s paintings offer a way of seeing Texas in a way that reflects something more than just doing whatever you want no matter the harm it causes others.

Below is Hogue’s 1939 painting The Crucified Land.

Again from The Handbook of Texas Online

“Post office murals capture the flavor of Texas through its most prominent symbols. Themes include regional history and early settlement. For example, the arrival of the conquistadors in West Texas is a mural theme in the Canyon, El Paso, and Amarillo post offices. Pioneer settlers appear in the murals of Mart, Big Spring, Brady, Wellington, and others. Included also are murals depicting various industries that characterize Texas, such as ranching (Fredericksburg, Amarillo); agriculture (Elgin, Farmersville, Longview); oil operations (Kilgore, Graham); and lumber manufacturing (Jasper, Trinity).”

Here is a list of Texas post office murals. Some of these murals are still around to view. Others are not. Check in advance.

Below is a picture I took from the Post Office of a 1941 Jerry Bywaters mural called Houston Ship Channel: Loading Cotton.

This painting is at a Houston parcel post facility and, regretfully, is not at the moment able to be seen by the public.

Texas can be seen from many different perspectives. You don’t have to accept a Texas where the land and the environment mean nothing, and where the little person gets no regard from the powerful other than a kick in the head.

See Texas in a more just and hopeful way, and then work hard to make your vision a reality.

(Here is a Texas Liberal list of books about Texas.) 

December 13, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | 2 Comments

View Texas In A Different Way—Alexandre Hogue & Texas Post Office Murals

I’ve bought two art books in recent weeks that show Texans working together and respecting the land and culture of the Lone Star state.

These two books are shown above as they are being read by two members of the Texas Liberal Panel of Experts.

On the left, Extinct–A woolly mammoth–is reading Alexandre Hogue–An American Visionary.

On the right, Cactus is reading The Texas Post Office Murals-Art For The People.

Both of these titles are published by Texas A & M University.

Alexandre Hogue lived 1898-1994. He spent most of his life in Texas and New Mexico.

From the excellent Handbook of Texas Online-

“(Hogue) is best known for his paintings of the Dust Bowl of the American Southwest during the Great Depression. Most of his work on this subject is from the 1930s, but the theme of natural balance-and the resulting environmental disasters when humans fail to respect that balance-is found throughout his work.”

Alexandre Hogue’s paintings offer a way of seeing Texas in a way that reflects something more than just doing whatever you want no matter the harm it causes others.

Below is Hogue’s 1939 painting The Crucified Land.

Again from The Handbook of Texas Online

“Post office murals capture the flavor of Texas through its most prominent symbols. Themes include regional history and early settlement. For example, the arrival of the conquistadors in West Texas is a mural theme in the Canyon, El Paso, and Amarillo post offices. Pioneer settlers appear in the murals of Mart, Big Spring, Brady, Wellington, and others. Included also are murals depicting various industries that characterize Texas, such as ranching (Fredericksberg, Amarillo); agriculture (Elgin, Farmersville, Longview); oil operations (Kilgore, Graham); and lumber manufacturing (Jasper, Trinity).”

Here is a list of Texas post office murals. Some of these murals are still around to view. Others are not. Check in advance.

Below is a picture I took from the Post Office of a 1941 Jerry Bywaters mural called Houston Ship Channel: Loading Cotton.

This painting is at a Houston parcel post facility and, regretfully, is not at the moment able to be seen by the public.

Texas can be seen from many different perspectives. You don’t have to accept a Texas where the land and the environment mean nothing, and where the little person gets no regard from the powerful other than a kick in the head.

See Texas in a more just and hopeful way, and then work hard to make your vision a reality.

July 8, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Governor Perry And Extremist Texas Republicans Target History And The Arts—They’ve Done All The Harm They Can Do To Health And Education

(Above–The Donley County, Texas Courthouse received Texas Historical Commission funds for renovation. Governor Perry wants to end funding for the Commission. Photo by Billy Hathorn.)

We all know that brutal cuts in the Texas state budget are on the way.

Due to longstanding Republican mismanagement of state finances, we have a massive budget deficit in Texas.

These cuts to health and education will cost lives and leave Texas children less able to compete with young people in other parts of the nation and from elsewhere in the world.

The leading “health” issue being addressed is legislation that would force some pregnant women to have a sonogram as they engage in a constitutionally-protected medical procedure.

If the state can force unwilling people to undergo a specific medical procedure, what is there to stop the state from forcing other medical procedures on free citizens?

We have the option of raising taxes or using the $9.4 billion Rainy Day fund to help make up the shortfall.

Governor Rick Perry has said many times that Texas will not use the Rainy Day fund.

Texas is 43rd in the nation in state tax burden, while at the same time the overall tax burden in our nation is as low as it has been since 1950.

People can say they are overtaxed, but they are not.  We either have the self-respect to meet the responsibilities of running a decent society, or we can let people suffer and fall behind as we go about our way.

In addition to the cuts in vital public services, Governor Perry has now also proposed to eliminate funding for the Texas Historical Commission and the Texas Commission on the Arts.

It makes sense that a state that places no value on the future would also place no value on the past. All there is are the current political and ideological aspirations of a far-right Governor and a far-right legislature.

The only time history has value is when the State of Texas alters history text books to lie about our past.

Real history goes out the door while fake history goes in our textbooks.

The revision of history is right up there with forced medical procedures with how a totalitarian state would conduct business.

As for the arts, you either feel they have value or you do not. I’m not going to change your mind.

People of all kinds have creative talents. Those with the resources to pursue those abilities will be able to go ahead.

People who need some help in the form of a Texas Commission on the Arts grant, will have to decide where to go in life where what they have to offer will be valued.

The direction of Texas is clear.

* Darwinian cuts for the least amongst us.

* Government control of the bodies and the medical decisions of women.

* Historical indoctrination over historical fact.

* Rejection of  the arts and of the people who pursue the arts.

The people of Texas can decide that this is all okay, or they can decide that the past has meaning and that the future has value.

It is up to you.

(A great Texas artist was Jerry Bywaters. You see below one of his works depicting Texas. Governor Perry feels the arts have little value to Texans.)

February 8, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Cactus Reads Art Book—Two Texas Regional Artists Of Note

Blogger’s Note—Because I have some other projects I want to take on, I’ll be offering up shorter and more formulaic posts for the remainder of August. These posts will still be quite good and will merit your visiting the blog each day. Yet at the same time, shorter posts will allow me time to accomplish other objectives. Thanks for reading Texas Liberal.

Book Of The Day— Cactus is reading American Realism by Edward Lucie-Smith. This book has Edward Hopper, Charles Sheeler and more. There is also an interesting chapter on American regional realist art that goes beyond Grant Wood and gets into some New Deal-era Texas artists, such as Jerry Bywaters and Alexandre Hogue, who merit attention in Texas and beyond.

Link Of The Day–The liberal magazine American Prospect is marking 20 years of great reporting. Check out the magazine and consider becoming a subscriber. I’m a subscriber because everything just can’t be for free online.  Content takes money to produce.

Texas Link Of The Day—  Below you’ll find the weekly posting of the Texas Progressive Alliance blogger round-up. The TPA is a confederation of the best political bloggers in Texas.

The Round-up—

Off the Kuff continued his interview series with Congressional candidate Ted Ankrum and State Representatives Senfronia Thompsonand Garnet Coleman.

Staggering levels of formaldehyde in Barnett Shale air and the attempted cover up, breaking news by TXsharon on Bluedaze: DRILLING REFORM FOR TEXAS. Continue reading

August 15, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sharecropper Painted By Texas Artist Jerry Bywaters

Above is a painting called Texas Sharecropper.

It was painted in 1937 by Texas artist Jerry Bywaters.

Please click here to learn more about Mr. Bywaters in the excellent Handbook of Texas Online. 

Jerry Bywaters lived 1906-1989.

Please consider spending a minute with the painting to consider your thoughts on  what you see.

I like the anger in the portrait. I like the absence of sentiment. I like how it is both regional and yet still so clearly American in a way that people in all parts of the country would understand. I like a Texas artist who paints the Texas he sees instead of a romanticized image.

Here is a link to other images created by Mr. Bywaters.

September 18, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 4 Comments