Thursday, April 21, 2011

Exciting Updates!

Lots of exciting news updates this week!

1. The Grant Wood Bus Trip was quite an enjoyable day thanks to our tour guides at the Figge Art Museum and the University of Iowa Museum of Art, and to Jim Hayes, who generously opened his home (formerly Grant Wood’s) to our group for a wonderful tour.

The ride to Davenport was comfortable in a Burlington Trailways coach. We were able to reach the Figge despite rising water on both sides of the road and some minor detours. When we arrived we split into two groups and toured three of the museum’s collections. The John Deere Collection was accumulated by Deere to educate employees about art from the countries the company does business with. Some pieces were also advertisements for Deere’s equipment. The Regionalist Collection, as you might imagine, held works by Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton, Marvin Cone, and similar artists. Among the paintings we saw were Wood’s Self Portrait, Return from Bohemia, andThe Spotted Man. Finally, we toured two railroad photography exhibitions: Tracks: The Railroad in Photographs from the George Eastman House Collection, and Crossing the Mississippi: The Quad Cities, the Railroad and Art.

At the University of Iowa Museum of Art, the group again split in half and saw a section of the University’s collection of African art, ceramic art, and some controversial pieces like the Gap bag by Jonathan Seliger. Favorites were, of course, Wood’s painting Plaid Sweater, and Jules Kirschenbaum’s Spanish Poet.

We then made our way to Iowa City, where we toured 1142 East Court Street. Jim Hayes, current owner, has preserved much of the reconstruction work Wood did when he lived in the house. Check out photos from our tour of Mr. Hayes’ home, also known as the Oakes-Wood House. This tour was a great way to finish out our day!

2. Our web store is officially up and running! This means you can now purchase many of the items found in our gift shop online. The finalization of the web store was helped along by a much appreciated grant from the Wapello County Foundation. Mother’s Day is coming up in just a couple of weeks, and our web store has tons of gift ideas from mugs and magnets to books and prints. Start shopping now!

3. I have thoroughly enjoyed my job as administrator at the American Gothic House Center. Talking with visitors, working in the garden, designing the new exhibit and writing this newsletter are among my favorite parts of the job. However, as those who attended the spring sale and art show inside the American Gothic House know, my first love is painting. With sadness but excitement, I have decided to leave my position here to pursue my M.F.A.

Grant Wood painted the landscape and culture of our state. He founded Regionalism based on the philosophy that he would do what he did best, focusing on what he understood and loved most. I am right there with him! I've learned a lot and had many unique opportunities and experiences as administrator of the Center, and I hold them dearly as I move forward with my painting career. I will continue to write the newsletter for the next few weeks as the search for a new administrator is conducted.

If you are interested in applying for the administrator position, please do so by Wednesday, April 27. View a job description here.

Molly Moser
American Gothic House Center

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