Author of new biography on Grant Wood will speak at Iowa State Nov. 7

AMES, Iowa -- The author of the first new biography of artist Grant Wood in nearly 70 years will speak about his book, "Grant Wood: A Life," at Iowa State University. R. Tripp Evans will discuss and read from his groundbreaking book at 7 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 7, in the Morrill Hall Auditorium, Room 2019. His talk is free and open to the public.

Published this month by Alfred A. Knopf, Evans' book uncovers the Iowa-born artist's personal life and the many ways it contradicted his public image. Yet, in contrast to his iconic paintings, such as "American Gothic," which appeared to represent traditional values and a simple, agrarian life, Wood's life was anything but homespun. He was ambivalent about religion, had idiosyncratic relations with family and spent most of his life hiding his homosexuality.

Wood, who is associated with the Regionalist movement in painting, was the first overnight sensation in the history of American art. His work has become a blank canvas for audiences who see what they will in his dream-like landscapes, unconventional history paintings and forbidding portraits, while having little sense of the man himself. According to Publisher's Weekly, "Evans' in-depth, gendered readings of Wood's paintings situate him in the longer history of male artists' gendered self-portrayals (bracketed by Oscar Wilde and Jackson Pollock), providing a useful new insight into Wood's place in American art."

In his talk, Evans will discuss the challenges and surprising discoveries of this six-year project, and will shed light on the hidden sources of Wood's powerful imagery.

Evans teaches American art and architecture at Wheaton College in Massachusetts. He holds a Ph.D. in art history from Yale University, New Haven, Conn.

Evans' presentation is cosponsored by University Museums, Visual Culture Club, and the Committee on Lectures, which is funded by the Government of the Student Body. More information on ISU lectures is available at, or by calling (515) 294-9935.