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'On the Radio," other exhibits on display at Reece Museum
Vintage radios from the "On the Radio" exhibit at the Reece Museum

JOHNSON CITY – “New Developments,” an exhibit of photography by Matthew J. Brown, opens Monday, May 14, at the Reece Museum on the campus of East Tennessee State University.

In this exhibition, which continues through July 20, Brown attempts to document a region in transition, one whose relationship with the landscape has greatly shifted, becoming less reliant on agriculture in favor of real estate and commerce.

Brown graduated from ETSU with a bachelor of fine arts degree in 2015 and was an artist-in-residence at the university from 2015-17.  His “New Developments” exhibit has been shown in Nizhny Tagil, Russia, and he has also had his photography shown locally and at galleries in Atlanta; Paducah, Kentucky; Richmond, Virginia; and Morgantown, West Virginia.

Also on display at the Reece Museum are “On the Radio: The Poetry of Carl Sandburg,” which closes on Friday, May 18, and “Salvador Dali and the Divine Comedy, Part III: Paradise,” which remains on display through June 15.

“On the Radio,” curated by Dr. Scott Honeycutt, showcases the life and work of the early 20th century poet Carl Sandburg and includes a display of vintage radios from the collections of both the Reece Museum and Honeycutt.

Sandburg is best-known for his “Chicago Poems” of 1916, his 1939 Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Abraham Lincoln and his 1936 poetic magnum opus, “The People, Yes.”

From the early 1920s until the mid-1950s, radio was the primary source of electronic mass communication.  Before the advent of television, such radio personalities as Norman Corwin provided listeners with dramatic retellings of written works.  With the backing of big-name studios like CBS and NBC, both radio hosts and poets like Sandburg were given a platform where poetry could take center stage, and millions of Americans gathered around their radios each week to tune in.

Honeycutt, who holds a Ph.D. in American literature from Georgia State University, is an assistant professor in ETSU’s Department of Literature and Language.

The design and cultural significance of radios caught Honeycutt’s attention in 1998 when he bought his first antique radio.  Since then, he has added over 10 radios to his collection, six of which are featured in the exhibition.

“Paradise” is the final installment of a three-year celebration of Dali’s series based on Dante Alighieri’s 14th century poetic masterpiece, “The Divine Comedy.”  “Paradise” is the third section, or canticle, of the poem and is an allegorical telling of the poet’s ascension through the nine celestial spheres of Paradise or Heaven.

In 2016, the Reece Museum displayed “Salvador Dali and the Divine Comedy, Part I: Inferno,” followed in the spring of 2017 by the second installment, “Part II: Purgatory.”  Those sections are based on various classifications of sin.

The 100 Dali prints were donated to the Reece Museum by Dr. Frank Barham, who graduated from ETSU before earning his medical degree from the College of Medicine at the University of Tennessee in Memphis, as well as additional degrees from St. Francis and Drew universities.  In addition to practicing medicine and working as a hospital administrator, Barham has published a number of books and is a sculptor.

The Reece Museum is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., and its exhibits are free and open to the public.

For more information, call the Reece Museum at 423-439-4392.   For disability accommodations, call the ETSU Office of Disability Services at 423-439-8346.

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