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This Old Firehouse
When Gene Logsdon realized that he experienced the same creative joy from farming as he did from writing, he suspected that agriculture itself was a form of art. Thus began his search for the origins of the artistic impulse in the agrarian lifestyle. The Mother of All Arts is the culmination of Logsdon's journey, his account of friendships with farmers and artists driven by the urge to create. He chronicles his long relationship with Wendell Berry and discovers the playful humor of several new agrarian writers. He reveals insights gleaned from conversations with Andrew Wyeth and his family of artists. Through his association with musicians such as Willie Nelson and his involvement with Farm Aid, Logsdon learns how music -- blues, jazz, country, and even rock 'n' roll -- is also rooted in agriculture. Logsdon sheds new light on the work of rural painters, writers, and musicians and suggests that their art could be created only by those who work intimately with the land. Unlike the gritty realism or abstract expressionism often favored by contemporary critics, agrarian art evokes familiar feelings of community and comfort. Most important, Logsdon convincingly demonstrates that diminishing the connection between art and nature lessens the social and aesthetic value of both. The Mother of All Arts explores these cultural connections and traces the development of a new agrarian culture that Logsdon believes will eventually replace the model brought about by the industrial revolution. Humorous and introspective, the book is neither conventional cultural criticism nor traditional art criticism. It is a unique, lively meditation on the nature and purpose of art -- and on the life well-lived -- by one of the truly original voices of rural America.
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