You know, I always did think they looked like Hoosiers:
Like many around the state, two American icons are eagerly awaiting the start of the state fair next month — in fact the nation's most famous farm couple will be first in line.
With the help of a crane, workers assembled larger-than-life sculptures of the couple from Grant Wood's “American Gothic” painting today to watch over the crowds on the northwest side of the fairgrounds. The 25-foot statues come complete with a pitchfork and have a suitcase at their feet, ready for their next destination.
Actually, they look like your generic farm couple of the 1930s, which was sort of Grant Wood's point. These giant-size statues have been making the rounds under the name -- I wonder if anyone in Indy appreciates the irony -- "God Bless America." They were most recently in Chicago, which is where someone here saw them and got the idea of bringing them to the state fair as a way to "promote the importance of agriculture." But that's not exactly the consensus of what the painting means. Wood was not very forthcoming about the painting's meaning, which has left it open to widely varying interpretations, most of them covered in a book devoted to "American Gothic."
At first, it was widely thought to be a savage satire, a putdown of yokels in the country's interior -- Iowans in particular were incensed about it. But as the Depression unfolded and we got into World War II, attitudes about the painting changed, and it was seen as a pro-American, rural values-affirming portrait. Now it's whatever the viewer wants it to be, even a farm-promoting gimmick for the state fair.
The best part of the "American Gothic" story is that right after he finished it, Wood entered it in the Art Institute of Chicago's annual exhibition. It took third place.