Grant Wood is best remembered for his classic painting, American Gothic.
American Gothic is still hanging in the museum where it was unveiled in 1930, the Art Institute of Chicago. It won a $300 prize and went on to become one of the most readily identifiable artistic works in human history. 5t gets parodied endlessly and I think it does that is that the work itself is a parody but at the same time it's an homage. Grant Wood walked a line between honor and mockery in that painting and in a lot of his work and frankly, that they key to his longevity.
That painting appeals to people who want to celebrate American provincialism and it appeals to people who are repulsed by it at the same time. What a feat Mr. Wood, good job.
I am working on a presentation I'm giving at the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show next month and I've been given carte blanche to do whatever I want. Within reason of course, I'll be designing a kitchen and explaining the software I use as I do it. The show's in Chicago so I want to make it relate to Chicago in some way.
I can have this kitchen be anything and I like it when my designs tell a story. The Art Institute of Chicago is around two miles north of McCormick Place, where KBIS is taking place, so why not start with the Art Institute's most famous painting?
Grant Wood was also an interior designer, and his art was influenced profoundly by his studies of Jan Van Eyck and others, so I think he'd approve of me paying an homage to American Gothic in a modern kitchen.
I can't just design out of thin air, I need a narrative. So I'm busily making one up.
The house in the background of American Gothic is a real house in Eldon, Iowa.
So if that's a real place, I need a believable story. I think I'll make up two guys who are die hard modernists. I see a non-sociopathic Don Draper and a Rodger Sterling, hold the narcissism. Don and Rodge are tired of the hassles of living in Chicago and decide to buy a place in the country. Hello Eldon, IA.
So now I have clients and a house. I'm half way there. How could the interior of a house like that be reinterpreted through a Modernist lens? to be truthful, a lot of what's driving this story is the painting of course but shortly after I had that idea, I came across this faucet.
It's the Bali from Graff Faucets. The Bali is a series of faucets that reinterpret a water pump. I'm telling you, it's the faucet that's going into the house in Eldon. Don and Rodge already approved it in fact.
Here's their master bath.
This is fun! But it's not helping me with this kitchen project. Mercifully, SketchUp's 3D Warehouse gives me access to all manner of modern lighting, furniture, plumbing, appliances and anything else I'll need. So now it becomes a matter of what kinds of things would go into this kitchen in Eldon? Is an apron front sink too easy? How about it I modern it up like this Kohler Verity?
I'm pretty fond of Brizo's Venuto, so I think that's what'll go in the kitchen regardless of the sink.
Since it's one of my designs, it'll have a big kitchen table in it. Probably the Bungalow by Thos. Moser.
I like that table paired with Moser's Edo chair.
Now comes the hard part though. What kind of appliances are they going to get? What's going on the counters? How do I use Ingo Maurer lighting effectively?
What do you guys think? If you were to modern up the interior, specifically the kitchen, of Grant Wood's American Gothic house in Eldon Iowa, what would you use?