At the Art Institute of Chicago, you can view Grant Wood's iconic oil painting "American Gothic." Or you can walk down Michigan Avenue. You can't miss the 25-foot sculpture by J. Seward Johnson re-creating the classic image of Americana, titled "God Bless America."
75 years after Wood created the original image, Johnson designed this work for The Sculpture Foundation. It is a very realistic, grandiose, three-dimensional representation of the original. Honestly, I look back and forth from the painting to the sculpture and it really looks like the characters have stepped away from the flat surface and into the real world. The sculptor added his own little touch to the couple. At their feet is luggage marked from world travels. The suitcase is covered with bumper stickers from all the corners of the globe such as China and Bangladesh.
Seward designed this sculpture to be part people's daily lives. He said, "We are overwhelmed in the twentieth century with what technology has brought us. We need to be reminded of the warmth of the human spirit, and so examples should be present in our environments. We have to understand that our age can be a humanitarian one, and not one which relegates the human being to an alienated condition."
The sculpture is part of a rotation of works by The Sculpture Foundation on this spot. This particular work will be visible through October 2010. It is replacing another work by Johnson, "King Lear."