in a surprise turn of events, i actually did something artsy while i was home for the holidays, thanks to my friend charlie. he wanted to see louisville's spankin' new muhammad ali center, and in louisville's culturally-deficient landscape it's a fairly worthwhile tourist trap, i mean, "destination". the not-quite-completed museum glosses over some of the details about his personal life and misses opportunities to delve more deeply or leave a more lasting impression, but it does a pretty good job of contextualizing his life, in particular the civil rights movement and the vietnam war (which ali opposed and refused to serve in, and as a result was forced to give up boxing for some five years). and although it gets touchy-feely near the end with exhibits for kids about "believing in yourself" and "setting goals", it does give some insight into ali's humanitarian work, inc. his work w/ the U.N. the exhibits have a splashy look to them that will prob. feel extremely anachronistic twenty years from now, and are rather heavy on video clips. among those a highlight is a video explaining some basics of boxing by ali's daughter who is also a boxer. all in all the part i found most worthwhile and which was spotlighted the least were two galleries of ali-related works by leroy neiman. perhaps still in development, these neglected to provide any information about this american artist, but his style is immediately recognizable and worth seeing.


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