Thursday, September 27, 2018
Grant Wood: American Gothic and Other Fables
Barbara Haskell, Senior Curator, Whitney Museum of American Art
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 artwork. But Wood’s career consists of far more than one single painting. He was a complex, sophisticated artist whose image as a farmer-painter was as mythical as the fables he depicted in his art. 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.
Dinner & Lecture
Members / Students $15
All lectures follow the same schedule:
6:00 pm Cocktail hour
7:00 pm Dinner
8:00 pm Lecture
Barbara Haskell is a long-time curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art, a well-known scholar on American modern art, and author of over thirty publications. Among the landmark thematic exhibitions she has curated are The American Century: Art & Culture 1900–1950 (1999) and BLAM! The Explosion of Pop, Minimalism and Performance 1958–1964 (1984). In addition, she has curated retrospectives and authored accompanying scholarly monographs on a range of early-twentieth-century and post-war American artists, including H. C. Westermann (1978), Marsden Hartley (1980), Milton Avery (1982), Ralston Crawford (1985), Charles Demuth (1987), Red Grooms (1987), Donald Judd (1988), Burgoyne Diller (1990), Agnes Martin (1992), Joseph Stella (1994), Edward Steichen (2000), Elie Nadelman (2003), Oscar Bluemner (2005), Georgia O’Keeffe (2009), Lyonel Feininger (2011), Robert Indiana (2013), Stuart Davis (2016), and Grant Wood (2018). In 2005, she was awarded the Lawrence A. Fleischman Award for Scholarly Excellence in the Field of American Art History by the Smithsonian Archives of American Art.
The Clyde Burroughs lecture series is generously supported by Frances & Nick Pavlovics.