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American Gothic 90th Anniversary Project




2020 sees the 90th anniversary of the painting American Gothic by Grant Wood. In August 1930 Grant Wood spotted the Gothic or Venetian style of window glazing bars at the front of an otherwise ordinary house in a small town in Iowa. Working against the conceit of the architectural style he embarked on a conceptual art project to portray the kind of person for whom, he imagined the house might have been built.

This call for artists is for work which has spun off in other conceptual directions from this visual startpoint. Of major interest is the distance travelled from the original while managing to clearly articulate the path taken. In some way it is likely that the artist has come to realise some affinity in their existing practice with Grant Wood’s image. While this call may seem addressed to visual artists we are open to all media.

From the beginning, public response to the painting has been mixed. At the outset it was seen as a celebration of ‘American values’ and, or attacking rural people. By 1948, Gordon Park’s photograph of a Black American woman with mop and broom could be framed against a US national flag and given the same title. In the present the whiteness of those values and the social fault lines of small town populations are more sharply revealed. Again this call is for work that builds on and yet challenges these problem areas.
In these Covid times, the selected works will be published in hardback book form and all contributors will receive a free copy. A parallel marketing activity will be to place this book in high profile locations worldwide to note the 80th year since Grant Wood's death in February 1931.


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