‘American Gothic’-inspired statue headed to Simpson

Photo Credit: God Bless America by Seward Johnson © 1995, 2007 The Sculpture Foundation, Inc.

Iowa native Grant Wood’s most famous painting is coming to Simpson College in Indianola – in the form of a 25-foot statue.

The 30,000-pound statue, created by sculptor Seward Johnson, will arrive on campus the last week of June and will require four days to assemble. It will remain at Simpson for six months.

Called “God Bless America,” the sculpture depicts the dour couple – a farmer and his spinster daughter – that Wood painted in 1930. “American Gothic” became one of the most familiar, and most parodied, pieces of art in American history.

“We are thrilled to be bringing the statue to Simpson,” said Bill Friedricks, director of the Iowa History Center. “We believe this will become a must-see tourism stop. It will bring more attention to Grant Wood and his work and is another example of how the Iowa History Center and Simpson College are committed to preserving and celebrating Iowa history.”

God Bless America by Alexander Misharin

Photo Credit: “God Bless America” vs. “American Gothic” by Alexander Misharin

The statue will be located on Simpson’s campus, east of the Kent Campus Center. It is made possible in part through the generous financial support of the James W. Hubbell Jr. and Helen H. Hubbell Foundation and the State Historical Society, Inc.

Over the course of the fall semester, the Iowa History Center’s public programming will be devoted to Grant Wood and the famous painting. Two special events include:

Actor Tom Milligan will perform his one-man show, Grant Wood: Prairie Rebel. Playing Grant Wood, Milligan chats with the audience as if talking to an old friend across the backyard fence. He tells us about his life and how he changed the art world forever. This show will be held outside in front of the statue at 7 p.m. on Sept. 17. In case of inclement weather, it will be held in the Kent Campus Center at Simpson College in Indianola.
Nationally acclaimed art historian Wanda Corn will present a lecture entitled “The Three Lives of Grant Wood’s American Gothic,” which will offer a close look at the Grant Wood painting and its strange odyssey from the studio of an unknown Iowa artist 75 years ago to its international celebrity status today. The program is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Nov. 5 at the Kent Campus Center.

Other events are being planned.

Watch a time-lapse of the assembly

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