Grant Wood is a hero in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. There are tours of Grant Wood’s studio and the Grant Wood Trail. His works are housed in the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, an Iowa quarter is engraved in his honor, Midwest travel brochures read, “Welcome to Grant Wood Country!” and now, the Grant Wood Operas.
The Grant Wood Operas: Strokes of Genius
The Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre will be presenting The Grant Wood Operas: Strokes of Genius. The work consists of three thirty minute operas, each inspired by the work of Grant Wood. Each opera was written by an Iowan composer, who wrote the librettos as well as the music.
Composer Rob Lindsey-Nassif wrote American Gothical, a humorous take on the inspirations behind Wood’s best known work. Michael Ching composed Seven Woods and a Van, a nod to Jan van Eyck, the 15th century Flemish artist who had a profound influence on Wood’s work. The third piece, by Jean-François Charles wrote Grant Wood in Paris, inspired by Wood’s Coil Welder and Spotted Man.
Premiere performances will be preceded each night by talks from R. Tripp Evans, an art history professor at Wheaton College in Massachusetts and author of the 2010 biography Grant Wood: A Life.
The works have been made possible, thanks to a $15,000 grant to the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre from the National Endowment for the Arts. The Grant Wood Operas: Strokes of Genius will be performed at the CSPS Hall in Cedar Rapids April 12-14, 2019.
Grant Wood Lithographs at the Surovek Gallery
The bucolic settings of many of Grant Wood’s works belie his sophistication. Although Wood dressed in overalls and liked to present a down-home facade, he was educated at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Academie Julian in Paris and taught painting at the University of Iowa’s School of Art.
In March, the Whitney held a Grant Wood retrospective. Grant Wood’s career was cut short when he died in 1942, of pancreatic cancer, on the day before his fifty-first birthday, but still, he was a prolific artist. His works, like his best known, American Gothic, appear to be a simple and straightforward look at life in the Midwest, but Wood’s compositions are not always as simple as they first appear.
Wood was not only an excellent painter, he was also a talented sculptor, designer, muralist and printmaker. At this time of the year, Wood’s winter scenes seem like comfort food.
Please contact us if you would like more information about January, February, March or any of the other fine works by Grant Wood available at Surovek Gallery.
Genevieve Trainor. Something to sing about: Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre receives NEA grant. Little Village. November 27, 2018.
Peter Schjeldahl. Beyond American Gothic. The New Yorker. March 12, 2018.
John Darsee. Grant Wood and his art remain a mystery decades after his death. Des Moines Register. June 5, 2018.