Sunday, December 12, 2010

Grant Wood - a Re-Disovered Appreciation

I recently read a NY Times book review of a new biography of Grant Wood, most famously known for [and perhaps limited by] his iconic portrait of a farm couple, American Gothic.

I was surprised to learn that in his own time he was denigrated as a 'regionalist' and a ' progragandist for conservative values.' He was, to me absurdly, 'accused of fostering a shrill nationalism that was actually compared to the unalloyed evil of the Third Reich. After the war, the art historian H. W. Janson asserted that “the Regionalist credo could be matched more or less verbatim from the writings of Nazi experts on art.” In 1962, when Janson published his now classic textbook on the history of Western art, he made no mention of Wood.'

In all this, I got book of Grant Wood from the library, [Grant Wood - The Regionalist Vision, Wanda Corn] and was astounded to discover many instances of art that, to me, moved far from the categories of 'regionalist' and 'representational' to a wonderfully skewed, and at times surreal touch. Some of which I'd like to share here.


Return from Bohemia - did the clan haunt him and call him home?

My favorite, Death on Ridge Road

Plaid Sweater - I love his truculent expression

His sister, NanWood - I love the Chicken & Egg touch

Woman with Plants

The reviewer quoted Grant Wood as saying,
'All the really good ideas I've ever had came to me while was milking a cow.' The reviewer stated this as 'somewhat goofily, Wood's most famous statement.' I thought that the reviewer probably has never milked a cow, because I could readily see how in the rhythm and focus of milking, the 'back processor' is free to roam and yes, 'really good ideas' could easily emerge.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Mermaid Project....

My dear friend Perry Fitzhugh aka Folly Productions turned me on to the work of his great buddy, Russell Richards.

Russell is a most interesting artist and is now working on a feature film - an avante-garde 'horror' film around the dark side [the real side?] of Mermaids. Do check out the video on the sidebar. You can actually contribute to the film through the neat organization, which helps individuals and groups raise capital for projects. With Russell's project just $25 will reward you with a poster of the wonderful mermaid drawing you can see at the opening of the video. Lucky me - one will come my way.

Go directly to Russell's website at