Paging Mr. Rockwell

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"Doc Melhorn and the Pearly Gates A," Norman Rockwell, 1938

(Photo: Collection of Pfizer Inc./© 1938 SEPS: Licensed by Curtis Publishing, Indianapolis)

Did you miss Norman Rockwell’s homespun assault on Atlanta in 1999 for the High Museum’s Americana blockbuster Pictures for the American People? No worries: A selection of 11 Rockwell paintings (along with the work of contemporary medical illustrators) depicting members of the medical profession are on view through June 4 at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You heard me right: The CDC is also an art hot zone.

Seeing art at the CDC's Global Health Odyssey exhibition space on Clifton Road is fun, because you get to feel like a character out of a Tom Clancy thriller as your trunk is searched. If you're lucky, they'll make you pop your hood and show them your engine. Maybe if real museums took these precautions, the wackos wouldn't be stealing and slashing artworks.

Usually by the time I make it through security, I am all primed to see guys in biohazard gear leisurely strolling around, looking at art. I am generally disappointed on this front.

Talk about a retro flashback. When was the last time doctors were treated with such reverence, a virtual halo perched on their caring heads? Doctors today are so harried, filling out insurance-company paperwork and dealing with onion-peel bureaucracy, a contemporary Rockwell would probably feature a stressed-out lady doctor eating lunch at her desk.

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