Talk show 60 Minutes

In July, 1951, Dial married Clara Mae Murrow, and they had five children: Thornton, Jr. (Little Buck), Richard, Dan, Mattie, and Patricia, who was born with cerebral palsy. The family lived in a brick bungalow that Dial built amid the shanties of Bessemer s Pipe Shop neighborhood, not far from the Pullman-Standard railcar factory where he worked as a machinist. Shortly after Patricia died, in the spring of 1987, Arnett appeared. Dial took it as a godsend.

One of the first pieces that Arnett bought from Dial was a tall sculpture of a turkey, for two hundred dollars, «I said,

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In March, a few weeks after the «Hard Truths» show dosed, Arnett and his son Matt visited Dial at home. It was late afternoon by the time they reached the house, which is on a wooded hill that overlooks a horse pasture. The Arnetts found Dial at the kitchen table, wearing plaid slippers and a pressed blue shirt buttoned to the top. He had spent the day resting. Grandchildren and greatgrandchildren were coming and going. In the den, the TV was on. His daughter Mattie had her laptop open to a traffic report, a Virginia Slim burning in a metal

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Fitting in does not come naturally to Arnett. During college, at Georgia Tech, he was often the only white person at the Royal Peacock, an Atlanta jazz dub. He feels more at home in Europe than in America. He was bom William Arenowitch, but after college he changed his name to Arnett, as did his brother, Robert, who makes photography books about India.

Arnett’s inside voice is an outside voice. He interrupts, a lot. He often begins a sentence with «No, no,» even if heʼs about to say something positive. His jokes can sound like insults. He tends to miss,

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African-American Vernacular Art

In Atlanta, the «Hard Truths» exhibition was in its final days at the High Museum. Arnett was scheduled to give a talk there at six o’clock, and arrived early. On his way into the lobby, the toe of his loafer caught on a grate, and he fell toward a steel beam. His forehead just missed it. A guard helped him up, but Arnett dismissed him and hobbled inside, his khakis ripped at the left knee. «Can knees sweat?» he asked. «I don’t think so. I’m bleeding.» Soon, the khakis were wet and red.

He ignored this and walked over to

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