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I went to see this exhibition with my friend Jenny last Monday. Jenny is a member of the RA, and took me in for free, which was nice.

It is a lovely little exhibit, just the right size to enthuse without wearying. 45 paintings hung in 4 rooms, with some explanatory panels.

The main attraction is American Gothic (the man holding a pitchfork with a woman standing beside him - you know it), outside North America for the first time. I'm very glad to have seen that. We looked at it for several minutes, and it makes a considerable difference to how I view that painting to find out that the woman is the man's daughter, not his wife. I think Grant Wood might be a new favourite artist - there are at least two others by him shown and I liked them both. There's a Georgia O'Keeffe skull. There's a painting by Edward Hopper that I'd swear was used as a backdrop in Breaking Bad.

It's a nice exhibit for an sf fan who remembers that the first Worldcon ran alongside the World Fair in 1939. There's a section called Visions of Dystopia, and another called Looking to the Future. There's a study for a mural painted for the Fair, and a fair few paintings that could have been used for the covers of sf books. I got the feeling that I knew and understood a little more about where the US was in that decade.

Afterwards there were cranes to photograph, and we had a nice lunch in a pub called the Spread Eagle a little way away, with Naked Ladies on tap, and talked the afternoon away.

The exhibition is on until early June. If I can I think I'll go again.

https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibition/america-after-the-fall

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
oreouk
25th Mar, 2017 21:56 (UTC)
Ooo, I hadn't realised American Gothic was in this! I need to go, clearly. I think I get in for free to through a work sponsorship thing.
coth
26th Mar, 2017 11:22 (UTC)
Glad to be of service.

If you do go and you'd like company and the date fits I'd happily go again. And see the Russian exhibit too. It's on til June.
oreouk
28th Mar, 2017 10:40 (UTC)
That would be fun, though I warn you that I'm a bit of an art philistine and tend to go through galleries at a reasonable pace rather than lingering (not always, but generally) so that might not suit you so well. I get free access through work and allegedly can get you discounted access on the same basis.

The best bet is for me to keep an eye on when we don't have a gaming commitment on a Friday evening and check in with you to see if then works for you?
coth
29th Mar, 2017 08:32 (UTC)
Actually, I'm quite happy to move at a reasonable rate. Occasionally a particular painting catches my eye for some reason, but at the America After the Fall that was about 4 or 5 out of the 45.

Friday afternoons are good, in general. I'll look forward to it.
voidampersand
26th Mar, 2017 07:13 (UTC)
Grant Wood lived and painted in Stone City, Iowa. There isn't much left of the artist's colony, but it's a pretty area. You can see a lot of American Gothic tributes. The National Motorcycle Museum nearby in Anamosa had statues in front of the pair in motorcycle leathers. If one happened to be in Madison around Memorial Day, it's an easy 3 1/2 hour drive. Also within a half day of Madison are Spillville, where Dvořák vacationed, and Taliesin, Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural center. The back roads along the Wisconsin and Mississippi rivers are very pretty. It's Clifford Simak country. I don't know of any spot particularly associated with Simak, but I like to think there is an old house in a sheltered valley where a man lives quietly with a robot companion and aliens visit them frequently.
coth
26th Mar, 2017 11:26 (UTC)
A Wiscon is definitely on the wish list for post child years, so I will bear this in mind.

I like to think that from the Simak too.

"Young Corn" is also in the exhibit. I _really_ liked this one. (This was the link with the best matched colour of the many the search threw up.)
https://duckduckgo.com/?q=grant+wood+young+corn&atb=v48-1by&iax=1&ia=images&iai=http%3A%2F%2Fxroads.virginia.edu%2F~ma98%2Fhaven%2Fwood%2Fimages%2Fyoungcorn2.gif
coth
26th Mar, 2017 11:33 (UTC)
Oh, and "an easy half day drive" is an American concept, really. :-)
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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Caroline M

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