Sunday, May 23, 2010

Gothic of Various Types and Locations

Grant Wood first exhibited his iconic painting, American Gothic, in 1930. Ridiculed by some critics at first showing, it is now one of the most widely recognized paintings in the world. A sculptor, J. Seward Johnson, in 2007 completed a sculpture entitled God Bless America based on the Wood painting. The statue is currently on display in downtown Mesa, Arizona. Mesa has a tradition of displaying sculptures on Main street during the winter, purchasing some for permanent display.

The statue is owned by the Sculpture Foundation of California. It is 25 feet tall, made of a styrofoam resin and sort of hung on a steel rod running through it. It weighs 8,000 pounds.

There are several differences between this sculpture and the painting. The painting stops at the waist, while the sculpture shows the couple standing on the ground. There is no house in the background of the sculpture and there is a travel sticker covered suitcase with the couple as part of the sculpture.

This is a BIG sculpture. As you can see it dominates the corner of MacDonald and Main.

Grant Wood's painting has had influence in various and sundry places, some of them rather unexpected. A bride and groom were inspired to pose for the photograph below entitled "Cache Valley Gothic". As far as I know the couple is much happier than their gothic expression would leave one to believe. Do you know of other influences of Wood's painting?


  1. Wow, that's really big! Apparently it was on display in Chicago for quite awhile. You can see a picture of a guy cleaning it here:

  2. Wow, that statue is really something. I'm inspired by the last photo - makes me want to do something similar.

  3. as far as the last photo goes, I hear the couple is quite happy. I believe the expressions were those of exhaustion -- and the pitchfork must have been for keeping guests at bay. ;-)

  4. Fun post. BTW my favorite is the Cache Valley Gothic.

  5. The second-to-last picture really puts the sculpture into perspective. Very big.

    I totally forgot about Cache Valley Gothic. Legend has it that the pitchfork was also used by the one who caught the bouquet.