Knoxville sports a huge university – sometimes referred to as The Fort (which tells it all) – and a downtown in the throes of revival. The handsome, compact Edward Larabee Barnes-designed Knoxville Art Museum, overlooks the site of the 1984 World’s Fair – which is the border between the University and Downtown.
The Art Gallery of Knoxville is located in downtown Knoxville at the north end of Gay Street, the present art gallery row. Unfortunately, the month the Gallery opened, the city tore down the bridge connecting South and North Gay Street and spanning the freight-train tracks. Not to fear; the Gay Street Viaduct will be rebuilt. In the meantime, The Gallery, proudly proclaims cofounder Starritt, is in No Man’s Land. It is even a number of block from the Old Town saloon scene, where many a country-music star had been known to drink to excess. There is a boulder by the Tennessee River, someone tells me after my lecture, with the ancient inscription: “now I know why the devil made Knoxville.”
—John Perreault’s art diary, artsjournal.com, January 15, 2006