Sunday, January 31, 2010

Housing Crisis

I found this political cartoon very interesting, due to its relation to the original work of art, American Gothic, by Grant Wood. The painting was said to represent an American Gothic style house, with the people the artist "fancied" should live in it. Its purpose is obviously to display the housing crisis America is/has been experiencing. Interestingly enough, the people who were originally painted to live in that house are now shown not knowing if they even own it.
Right now, our economic state is said to be close to that of the Great Depression. What I found to be some what ironic is that the original American Gothic painting was created around the onset of the Great Depression, and was said to have represented "steadfast American pioneer spirit." You can see this in the serious, determined facial expressions of the farmer, as well as his stature and strong hold on his pitchfork. His physiognomy shows that he is standing strong for his country, despite the hardships America was facing at that time.
The Physiognomy on the American farmer in the caricaturist's recreation steps away from that of the original. His face shows a certain weakness in his expression, with 'worry lines' in his forehead and a frown instead of strong, pursed lips. If the original painting was said to represent the strength of America, and the ability to overcome hardship, is this cartoon trying to show the opposite? It is as if the artist is trying to mock the original work of art, and Americas ability to come out of a crisis.
Another aspect i found interesting when comparing the two was, in the original painting, there is a basket of flowers sitting on the porch, said to represent "domesticity". In the recreation, they are left out. Is the artist trying to say something about America losing a sense of domesticity in the household as well? Or was this just irrelevant to its overall purpose?

1 comment:

  1. What makes this cartoon a success is the comparison between McCain not knowing how MANY homes he owns, while the average american facing foreclosure and skyrocketing adjustable interest rates is no longer sure that they even own there home anymore. When McCain was asked how many houses he owned he said "I'm not sure. I'll have to check with my staff." It turns out he owns at least four- but maybe up to eight. The way in which McCain is posed, fingers drumming on his chin, quizzical brow, tongue slightly sticking out as if in deep thought is being compared to the hard-working american people trying desperately to own their modest house, let alone 4-8 McMansions. Ironic.