Music: How about Blind Willie Johnson, a pinnacle of the blues tradition? Buy it here. Can I overlook Scott Joplin and his "Euphonic Sounds"? Lightnin’ Hopkins? Woody Guthrie (if only he had read Economics in One Lesson…)? Leadbelly? Janis Joplin? Roy Orbison? Jimmie Rodgers? Charlie Christian? Ornette Coleman? Buddy Holly? Here is a longer list.
Painting: Robert Rauschenberg? Look at this one with the goat, I believe it is in Stockholm. I bet you, like I, say naaaah, but the field is thin. I’ll opt for his "Bed" as an important work, however.
Literature: Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian is the obvious choice, or try Katherine Anne Porter.
Food: Texas barbecue has a strong influence (sausage!) from German migrants. That is also why Tejano music has so much accordion, with a hat tip to Poland as well.
Comedian: Steve Martin. All of Me and Planes, Trains and Automobiles both make me laugh.
The bottom line: I love Texas, but I am surprised that the weight of achievement is so unbalanced toward music and food. By the way, I’m in El Paso, doing research for my next book.
Addendum: Several readers write to tell me Guthrie is not a Texan…