Sunday, February 14, 2010

American Consumer Whores

America Gothic by Stuart Green is a blatant parody of the American Gothic painting, by Grant Wood, from the early 20th century. The painting was originally a portrayal of an idealistic Midwest . Two stern face farmers, standing in front of a Gothic revival farmhouse, posing with the tools of their trade, turns into two “stereotypical” modern middle Americans. The clothing between the two remains the same, as does the residence; however the biggest, most obvious difference is that in Green’s illustration the farmer and his wife are morbidly obese. This is a blatant stab at how the standard American has changed in the past seventy to eighty years, from thin, slim, hard working farmers to squishy, ridiculous, overweight hick-like parodies of themselves.

Everything about these characters is supersized and branded. Their hands appear comically miniscule in comparison to the giant soft drink and hamburger. In fact, their entire bodies do not quite seem to fit the rest of their bodies; their arms are freakishly thin, their hands horribly small. The farmer in the original painting is staring forward very intently, while in the parody the man looks like a mindless consumer drone. This brings up the topic of branding; instead of the weathervane on top of the farmhouse in the original American Gothic, Green’s illustration has the McDonald’s arches above their house. Also, instead of the serene Midwest backdrop, the background is blatantly littered with different brands.

1 comment:

  1. I can not see the image you posted, however your description does paint a good picture. It describes Hogarth's portrayal of the grotesque in similar fashion. As well as the disgust the artist sees in humanity, the social commentary. It also has an element of satire on the traditional hard working farmer. It has all the elements that Hogarth presented in his work.