Whenever I visit a new city for the first time, I always try to check out an art museum or two. I’m not particularly interested in art or anything, but when you’ve seen photos of paintings in books for years and years it is kind of cool to actually go see the paintings (or sculptures or photographs) in person.
A few years ago in Chicago, I visited the Art Institute of Chicago and I really, really wanted to see one of the paintings that I vividly remember seeing in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.” You know the one– A Sunday on La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat.
The other painting I really wanted to see was Grant Wood’s American Gothic. I had seen this painting hundred of times in books and the image of that farmer and his lady ran through my mind a lot. They seemed so unamused and yet engaged. The couple had this small farmhouse in Iowa, yet they had this beautiful Gothic window in it.
Are they happy? Are they sad? Do they not like photos? Do they need to get back to work before the sun goes down?
The Art Institute of Chicago describes American Gothic as “highly detailed, polished style and the rigid frontality of the two figures” and Wood intended it to be, “a positive statement about rural American values, an image of reassurance at a time of great dislocation and disillusionment. The man and woman, in their solid and well-crafted world, with all their strengths and weaknesses, represent survivors.”
Okay, obviously, Kim and Kanye are not rural folks, but they are trying to showcase that whole American dream– three kids, cars and a house– as a positive statement, though many critics disagree with their family values. The similarities are eerie.
And let me assure you if anyone would call themselves survivors it’s Kim and Kanye.
This is our new American Gothic.