The Daily Pulse:

The Greenwood Mural!

The long-suppressed Marion Greenwood mural is on display for the next two months at UT's Downtown Gallery in the Emporium Building on Gay Street. Go see it, and decide for yourself.

It's a fairly incredible story of Marion Greenwood, a high-profile artist who had worked with Diego Rivera in Mexico, and on her own projects in Haiti and China, commissioned to do a large-format painting representing the History of Tennessee for Knoxville's University Center. The painting, also known as the Singing Mural, emphasizes both races and their contributions to music in Tennessee, hung in the UC's ballroom for 15 years without incident. But in May, 1970, during the post-Kent-State student strikes, it was defaced for reasons never explained. It was assumed it was too controversial for Knoxville, at that time at least. Though restored, it was hidden behind paneling for about 40 years.

Except for a brief unveiling in 2006, this is the first time it's been seen in public since the early '70s.

Fully restored and cleaned up again, last year, and now very well lit in the Downtown Gallery, it's a striking piece of work that almost glows. Accompanying it is a much-earlier WPA mural she did for the Crossville post office, some studies for the UT mural, and other works. The showing has attracted one west-coast scholar who's at work on a book about Greenwood. There's still much mystery about the painting and its many subjects. If you have any clues about Greenwood or the people she used as subjects in 1954, author Joanne Mulcahy would like to talk to you.

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