Grant Wood: American Gothic and Other Fables
Audio Guide Playlist

Narrator: Wood painted this work to hang over a mantel, embedded into a Cedar Rapids living room.

Glenn Adamson: So the first thing you might think is that it's probably not a major work by Grant Wood. But it is a very interesting work by Grant Wood.

Narrator: Glenn Adamson. 

Glenn Adamson: In fact, it might've even been in his mind, a kind of pendant to American Gothic. It's possible that they were painted at the same time.

It shows Grant Wood's imagination taking flight in the domain of ornament. He would talk about his "decorative adventures" that he took in his paintings.

If you look at the way the trees seem to be growing over the house and almost claiming it for nature, or the way that this fellow is riding past the house on a toy horse almost and lifting his hat in salute to this little family. It projects this idea of an idyllic or ideal American scene, but one that has a sort of weird, dark energy flowing underneath it and through it. It's so classic, typical of Grant Wood in that way.

Narrator: As we move through the exhibition, you’ll see that this darkness runs through a lot of Wood’s works—even in the places you’d least expect it. Barbara Haskell curated this exhibition.

Barbara Haskell: He moved from the farm, his family farm, when he was ten. And his desire to idealize a world that really was different from the world he was living in created a tension, which then was augmented by his status as an artist and his deeply closeted homosexuality. There's this very dark side, a kind of disquiet that enters the work that belies the cheerful bucolic exterior that is seems to advertise.

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