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Grant Wood: Beyond American Gothic

Evening Program

Wednesday, April 25, 2018 - 6:45 p.m.
Code: 1L0189
"American Gothic", 1930, by Grant Wood (Art Institute of Chicago)

Please note this program has a rescheduled date (originally March 28, 2018).

Grant Wood's American Gothic—the double portrait of a pitchfork-wielding farmer and a woman commonly presumed to be his wife—is perhaps the most recognizable painting in 20th century American art, an indelible icon of Americana, and certainly Wood's most famous art work. But Wood's career consists of far more than one single painting.

A new exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art, Grant Wood: American Gothic and Other Fables, brings together the full range of his art, from his early arts-and-crafts decorative objects and impressionist oils through his mature paintings, murals, and book illustrations. It reveals a complex, sophisticated artist whose image as a farmer-painter was as mythical as the fables he depicted in his art.

Wood sought to pictorially fashion a world of harmony and prosperity that would answer America's need for reassurance at a time of economic and social upheaval occasioned by the Depression. Yet underneath its bucolic exterior, his art reflects the anxiety of being an artist and a closeted gay man in the Midwest in the 1930s. By depicting his subconscious anxiety through populist images of rural America, Wood crafted images that speak both to American identity and to the estrangement and isolation of modern life.

Join Sarah Humphreville, senior curatorial assistant at the Whitney, as she offers an overview of the exhibition and insights into the artist’s lesser-known life and career.

World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1/2 credit

S. Dillon Ripley Center
1100 Jefferson Dr SW
Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)