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Grant Wood At 5 Turner Alley

September 10 - December 4, 2005

 

(above: Grant Wood, Study for Self Portrait, 1932, charcoal and pastel on paper, 14 1/2 x 12 inches. Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Museum purchase. 93.11)

 

The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art is presenting a major exhibition, Grant Wood At 5 Turner Alley, which will run from September 10 through December 4, 2005 and feature more than 170 works of art. The exhibition is the most comprehensive Grant Wood exhibition to date and reveals the relationship between the paintings, murals and functional decorative arts works in wood and metal created by the famous regionalist artist. The last major exhibition of work by Grant Wood was organized by the Davenport Museum of Art in 1996.

Grant Wood At 5 Turner Alley was organized to celebrate the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art's public opening of Wood's historic Cedar Rapids studio, known as 5 Turner Alley, and the museum's 100th anniversary. The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art exhibition features works from the museum's extensive collection as well as major loans from museums and private lenders across the country. (right: Grant Wood, American Gothic, 1930, oil on beaverboard, 29 1/4 x 24 5/8 inches. Friends of American Art Collection. All rights reserved by The Art Institute of Chicago and VAGA, New York, NY, 1930.934)

Grant Wood At 5 Turner Alley focuses on the most important decade of Wood's career -- the years 1924 to 1934 -- when he lived and worked at his studio in Cedar Rapids and produced his most legendary works, including American Gothic, which will return to the city where it was painted for the first time in more than sixty years.

In addition to Grant Wood's well-known paintings, visitors will see pencil drawings, lithographs and book illustrations, as well as a surprising selection of household objects and furnishings made of copper and wood. The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art's own extensive collection of Wood's work will serve as the foundation for Grant Wood At 5 Turner Alley.

The exhibition shows a rarely seen, but important element of Wood's career with its inclusion of his decorative arts works. Some of the works in the show have recently been conserved and will be on view for the first time. "If you thought you knew Grant Wood before seeing this exhibition you will be surprised," says Cedar Rapids Museum of Art Executive Director Terry Pitts. Pitts says the exhibition demonstrates how Grant Wood's early training and interest in the Arts and Crafts movement influenced the rest of his artistic career.

After showing at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art the exhibit will tour to the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Renwick Gallery. The Renwick Gallery will feature Grant Wood's Studio: Birthplace of American Gothic, March 10 through July 16, 2006. The Renwick Gallery exhibition will include more than 100 works of art selected from the comprehensive show, Grant Wood At 5 Turner Alley, being held at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art.

Like the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, the Renwick Gallery will present for the first time Grant Wood's lesser-known decorative arts and design work along with his better-known paintings, drawings and prints. The exhibition features works from the collection of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, studio artifacts and heirlooms that inspired Wood's work, as well as significant loans from other museums and private collections that rarely travel. Together these works help to recreate Wood's studio and demonstrate the importance of craft in the development of the artist's work. (left: graphic for Mr. Wood Goes to Washington. Courtesy Cedar Rapids Museum of Art)

"We are thrilled at this opportunity for many more Americans as well as international visitors to Washington to view and better know Grant Wood and all he represented in his art," said Terence Pitts, Executive Director of the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art. "The Smithsonian American Art Museum is America's first federal art collection dedicated to the enjoyment and understanding of American art. The museum celebrates the extraordinary creativity of our country's artists, whose works are windows on the American experience."

Pitts further comments, "Wood is the quintessential painter of America in the 20th century, just as the Smithsonian is the quintessential American museum. In the period between the World Wars, American artists discovered their most important subject was America itself. No artist is a better example of this than Grant Wood. Wood had a vision of the values that made this country great and he poured this vision directly into the pieces he created from 1928 to 1942."

"To have this Iowa artist's work displayed in a historic architectural landmark across the street from the White House is something the museum, the city of Cedar Rapids and all of Iowa can be proud of," he said.

The showing at the Smithsonian American Art Museum's Renwick Gallery will be the only other venue for this comprehensive exhibition of Grant Wood's work. Along with the change of the exhibition name, there will be small changes to the exhibition for its Smithsonian debut. The Cedar Rapids Museum of Art exhibition will feature Wood's most famous work, American Gothic, on loan from the Art Institute of Chicago -- a central piece in the exhibition -- Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Parson Weems' Fable, from the Amon Carter Museum, Ft. Worth, Texas, among other significant loans from across the country. New agreements are being negotiated to extend the length of the loans to accommodate the travel of the exhibition. "Ideally, all of the loaned works will be able to travel to Washington so Grant Wood's important paintings may be seen afresh in the context of his roots in the Arts and Crafts Movement," said Pitts. (right: Grant Wood next to the unfinished painting, Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, at 5 Turner Alley, 1931, Courtesy of Figge Art Museum, Grant Wood Archives. Photo: John Barry)

In conjunction with the exhibition, a 140-page book will be published with more than 100 color reproductions and four essays focusing on Grant Wood's years at 5 Turner Alley by art publisher Prestel of Munich, Germany. Titled "Grant Wood's Studio, Birthplace of American Gothic," it will demonstrate the strong relationship Wood had with the community. Professors Wanda Corn, Stanford; James Dennis, University of Wisconsin; Joni Kinsey, University of Iowa; and Jane Milosch, Curator, Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian Institute contributed essays to the catalogue that further explores and illustrates the artist's work.

 

(above: Designed by Grant Wood, forging attributed to George Keeler (American, 1908-44), Corn Cob Chandelier for Iowa Corn Room, 1925-26, formed brass sheet, cast and machined iron, and copper wiring, 94 x 32 x 34 in. Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Gift of John B. Turner II. 81.17.3)


Editor's note

Resource Library readers may also enjoy:

these earlier articles and essays among 178 Resource Library texts referencing the artist:

Resource Library articles on "American Scene" painting and "regionalism":

these audio shows

National Public Radio provides through its Programs Archive page:

The Story Behind American Gothic from Morning Edition, July 12, 2005
 
American Gothic, Present at the Creation from Morning Edition, November 18, 2002 with links also to "Centennial of Grant Wood's Birth" (June 6, 1991) and "an interview with James Dennis, author of Grant Wood: A Study in American Art and Culture". (February 13, 1976)

Amazon.com's feature that allows people on the Web to read text inside books including

To use this feature, search in "books," then enter title of book. When book is selected go to "look inside" and read sample pages of the book selected, which may include color images of the front cover, front flap, table of contents, excerpt such as the introduction chapter, alphabetical index, back flap and back cover. These books on American Gothic also have a word search feature, which enables registered individuals to search inside the books and pull up individual pages containing the selected words. [Click here for more on Amazon.com's project and other digitizing initiatives.]

and these other resources on the Web:

Read more articles and essays concerning this institutional source by visiting the sub-index page for the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art in Resource Library.


TFAO also suggests these DVD or VHS videos:

Grant Wood's America: 29 minutes, 1986 from the PBS special of the same name. "American Gothic is the painting that established Grant Wood's reputation. The memorable portrait begins this documentary about this well-known American artist. One can imagine that Wood, who possessed a wry sense of humor, would appreciate the many parodies of his famous image that have since been created. The film covers Wood's life and artistic development, placing special emphasis on the growth of his distinctive Regionalist style and his interest in American traditions." Quote from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
 
Visions of California: The Story of California Scene Painting, produced by Paul Bockhorst for KOCE Public Television in collaboration with The Irvine Museum, is the 1994 story of California Scene Painting 1925-1950. Bockhorst, working with scores of collectors and dozens of institutions and museums nationwide, has created a three-part series of artistic delight and intellectual insight that features almost 150 works of art.
 
 
 

TFAO does not maintain a lending library of videos or sell videos. Click here for information on how to borrow or purchase copies of VHS videos and DVDs listed in TFAO's Videos -DVD/VHS, an authoritative guide to videos in VHS and DVD format.

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