Grant Wood: American Gothic and Other Fables
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Narrator: Wood and his friend Edgar Britton made this chandelier as part of an Iowa-themed dining room in the Montrose Hotel, in Cedar Rapids.

Sarah Humphreville: Every wall on the room was a mural of a harvested cornfield…

Narrator: Senior Curatorial Assistant Sarah Humphreville.

Sarah Humphreville: So you'd have this panoramic experience of walking into this scene that Iowans would have known well, and on top of the actual depiction of the field, they had painted the lyrics of the Iowa Corn Song, which I won't sing for you because I don't know the tune, but it's something about, "We're from I-O-Way" and it went on to—it extolled the virtues of the corn. So this was one part of an entire space dedicated to local Iowa subject matter.

Narrator: The commission was enormously successful—Wood and Britton went on to make corn rooms in two more Iowa hotels. Of course, these suites were much less complex than Wood’s most ambitious paintings. But he took them very seriously. He came from a crafts tradition that placed great importance on design in everyday life.

Sarah Humphreville: He really felt that art should be a democratic endeavor that, if you weren't making anything that was legible to your public and it wasn't accessible, that it was lost, and that was something that he kept with him in his painting as well.

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