Illustrated lecture at PSU to explore gay artist Grant Wood's strategies for fame and survival
"Grant Wood: A Gay Man's Self-Fashioning"
As part of its campus-wide celebration of Pride Week, Portland State University's Queer Resource Center presents an illustrated slide lecture by art historian and critic Sue Taylor on Grant Wood, creator of one of the most renowned paintings of the twentieth century, American Gothic (1930). In his unfinished autobiography and in regular statements to the press, Grant Wood (1891-1942) idealized his childhood on an Iowa farm and his later conversion from artistic bohemianism to midwestern Regionalism. But his paintings are not simple celebrations of the country folk he supposedly embraced: a double consciousness prevails in pictures like American Gothic and in the contradictory claims he made about them. Indeed, many pictures contain secret gay messages which, for well over half a century, have eluded viewers unaware of Wood's sexual orientation. Offering new readings of popular favorites such as Parson Weems' Fable (1939) and the satirical Daughters of Revolution (1932), Professor Taylor will also consider how Wood relied on duplicity, humor, and ironyin both art and lifeto survive in a homophobic rural community in the 1920s and 1930s Midwest.
Sue Taylor is Associate Professor of Art History at Portland State University and a corresponding editor for Art in America. Her research on Grant Wood has been supported by the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum Research Center, Santa Fe; the American Psychoanalytic Association; and Portland State University.
When: Tuesday, May 9 @ 6pm
Where: PSU's Smith Memorial Student Union, 1825 SW
Broadway, room 296-98
The event is free and open to the public.
Co-sponsored by PSU's Department of Art, School of Fine and Performing Arts.