Daughters of Revolution - Grant Wood, 1932
From the Boston Phoenix:
Three ladies can be seen framing a reproduction of Emanuel Leutze’s Washington Crossing the Delaware, and a more unrevolutionary-looking lot you couldn’t imagine: tight-mouthed, thin-lipped, with dull, vacant eyes and not a hint of intelligence. They’re wearing granny dresses, and the one in the middle is holding a Blue Willow teacup in an affected manner, her ring finger conspicuously bare. Behind them Washington looms majestically, heroically; God help us, you think, if these really are the daughters of revolution.
There’s a story behind this painting. Five years earlier, in 1927, Wood had been commissioned by the city of Cedar Rapids to create a stained-glass window for the Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Unhappy with the quality of American-made glass, he went to Munich in 1928, where he found his needs met by the Emil Frei Company. The window was finished in 1920, but it was not dedicated till 1955, because the Daughters of the American Revolution contended that a German company should not have been allowed to fabricate a World War I memorial.
Daughters of Revolution is Wood’s satiric response. (It can’t have been lost on him that Leutze was born in Germany and painted his Washington in Düsseldorf.) And yet — with Grant Wood there’s always an “and yet” — the ladies depicted with merciless realism, while behind them Washington and his troops parade in all their mythologized majesty. Insular and narrow-minded, these nevertheless are the daughters of the American Revolution.
Lipstick (Ascending) on Caterpillar Tracks
Morse College Courtyard, Yale
This is a lovely Pop Art sculpture from the original days of “Make Love, Not War” where Oldenburg used a giant lipstick in place of a missile for a tongue-and-cheek political anti-war statement. The lipstick originally was made of inexpensive plywood and a blowup red vinyl tip, but due to vandalism and deterioration it is now made of steel, aluminum, and fiber glass.
Most of Claes Oldenburg’s sculptures are based on the concept of turning everyday objects into large scale art. It makes you see the object from a different perspective, giving the everyday object a lot of importance.
Come Away from Her - Kiki Smith, 2003
From the Brooklyn Museum’s website:
Come Away from Her is based on a manuscript drawing by Lewis Carroll for his book Alice’s Adventures Under Ground (1864). At this point in his story, friendly birds fly off when Alice talks about what her cat likes to eat. In Kiki Smith’s prints based on fairytales, childhood vulnerability and innocence like Alice’s can be imbued with a sense of the sexual awakening that accompanies adolescence, and the animals sometimes shown with young girls suggest underlying forces of nature. Here we witness a cryptic scene, as Alice watches winged forms, some of them with incongruous limbs, fly away from her.