Grant Wood: American Gothic and Other Fables

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Narrator: Grant Wood’s American Gothic debuted in 1930, at the Art Institute of Chicago. Wood had been a moderately successful local artist, working in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. More or less overnight, his painting became an icon—a symbol of national identity—though there was a lot of disagreement about what exactly it symbolized. In this exhibition, we’ll have a chance to look beyond American Gothic—but also to see that many of its most captivating qualities run throughout Wood’s work.

If you haven’t already, go ahead and move into the first gallery of the exhibition. You’ll find decorative art objects that Wood made in the years leading up to the exhibition of American Gothic.

Glenn Adamson: You could say that the decorative was Grant Wood's preferred area of operation, the thing that he liked to do best.

Narrator: Glenn Adamson is a Research Fellow at Yale University and a design historian.

Glenn Adamson: Of course we think of him as a painter and he's made all these famous images. But he actually made a lot of his money as an interior designer. Made a lot of rooms and whole houses for clients in Cedar Rapids. He absolutely loved it.