The Whitney Museum offers a comprehensive view of the Iowan artist.
Caroline Goldstein, March 15, 2018
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Through June 10, 2018
Grant Wood’s Spring in Town (1941). Courtesy of the Swope Art Museum, Terre Haute, Indiana.
What the Museum Says: “Wood sought pictorially to 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 deeply repressed homosexual in the Midwest in the 1930s. By depicting his subconscious anxieties through populist images of rural America, Wood crafted images that speak both to American identity and to the estrangement and isolation of modern life.”
Why It’s Worth a Look: The iconic painting American Gothic, a double-portrait of a dour-faced Midwestern couple in front of a white farmhouse, is the centerpiece of this sprawling retrospective, the first major examination of Grant Wood‘s work in over 20 years. But Wood was much more than American Gothic. The Whitney has assembled more than 100 works that reveal the painter’s hugely diverse oeuvre, which includes decorative art objects, book illustrations, and public commissions.