I found this recently in a used book store. This is a use I hadn't thought of or seen before, using the dour faced couple to highlight artificially large smiles! These two would not normally bring to mind smiles OR good eating so the parody works for me! Had anyone else seen examples of a 'Big Smile American Gothic' or an American Gothic down-home cookbook?
Similarly the recent US magazine special issue on the movie 'Divergent' caught my eye (see below) but I did not buy a copy for the same reasons I just stated. Just a stern faced couple is NOT enough!
If you look through my collection on this site, you'll find others I consider borderline and maybe one or two that really don't belong at all. What do you think? What is the minimum set of elements that make a valid A.G. parody? DO you have any example of 'minimalist' parodies? Let me know and we can share them with other fans.
I've posted a few examples below of a Middle Art classes American Gothic Parody project. These pop up here and there all over the country and seem to be popular with the kids and the teachers. In years gone by this might have been done freehand, or perhaps with a copy of the original on which they pasted new heads cut from magazines. But now that we're in the digital age, Art students are learning to make digital art. The youngest example I've seen so far is Miss Lindhorst's 5th grade class in West Branch, Iowa (where else?). They did a Photoshop American Gothic Parody Project in 2011. It shows some great imagination. Have you or your kids on anyone else you know ever had an American Gothic related art project while in school? I'd love to hear the details. Also, please share links to any other school A.G. projects so we can all share!
Miss Lindhorst's 5th grade class Photoshop American Gothic Parody Project 2011
Scotia-Glenville Schools American Gothic Art Project
In recent years, books and movies seem to have really latched on to Vampires, Werewolves and Zombies. American Gothic Parodies do not seem to have followed this trend. I have found only two zombie themed pictures and no werewolves or vampires. This surprises me since the werewolves and vampires in particular have been mostly in stories featuring romantic couples. There is now a section in the bookstores labelled "Teen Supernatural Romance"! Our favourite couple should be a prime target for poking fun at a genre that seriously needs to be made fun of!!!
It's not because artists don't see value in the macabre or monstrous. I have no less than four Frankenstein Gothic's, five Aliens Gothic's and an assortment of other monstrous creatures set in the farmhouse pose.
And it's not because the parody makers are less active these days. Quite the contrary as evidenced by the fact that I found seven Obama themed American Gothic images but only one Reagan and no presidents earlier than LBJ, who is on a comedy album's parody cover. Not to mention lots of modern themes such as gay rights and America’s obesity problem.
So what’s the deal? I challenge artists to pick up their mouse, start up their Photoshop, and submit A vampire romance or vampires vs. werewolves American Gothic Parody. I regret that at this time I can offer no financial reward for such a creation but you will get credit on my pages. Any takers?
I have recently come across a number of photos on the internet of various people posing in front of the American Gothic House in Eldon, Iowa. Since they all have clothes that fit the original painting and I doubt that's how these people normally dress, I can only assume that the costumes are available for rent at the house. I found the official sote of the American Gothic House and they do indeed provide costumes and otherwise encourage people to make their own photo-parodies, they even have an AG cutout available inside the house for people to stick their heads in and snap a souvenir picture if the weather doesn't allow an outdoor picture.
As a piece of American Art, it's a very good paiting by a very good artist. I've seen the original and I was suitably impressed. The Chicago Museum of Art does a fine job displaying it, showcased in a somewhat darkened room, except for the light on the paiting itslef, and framed in what looks like unfinshed clapboard, which suits the theme. I have to say I'm more a fan of Georgia O'Keeffe, Maxfield Parrish and even Gahan Wilson. But this paiting is unique and lends itslef to parodies on several different topics. It's American, it's rural, it's 'dirt poor', and it's 'depression era'. So if you want to have fun with patriotism, or make fun of the economy, or make a point, good or bad, about rural life, there's plenty of fodder here to feed your statement.
As you look through my collection you'll see a few images that I consider marginal parodies. For example, the Tim Allen - Kirstie Alley movie 'For Richer or Poorer' almost didn't make the cut. The same goes for the ad for 'The Simple Life' TV series featuring Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie. In both cases, the parody would have been more complete if the house was in the background. Oddly enough, I see A.G. more readily in the former even though there is a barn of sorts behind Paris and Nicole, and Nicole is wearing overalls. Tim Allen is on the wrong side, there's no building in the background, the foreground is obscured by wheat and neither character is wearing outfits that resemble the original. Yet there is something about their facial expressions and clothing that is at least conservative that still evokes images of Grant Wood's masterpiece.
On the other hand, Paulie Shore's 'Son in Law' poster has a barn in the background, the poses are good and Carla Guillgano's leopard print outfit has a broach where Nan's cameo would be. And in the Mad magazine X-Files cover, there is no house at all but Agent Scully is wearing Nan's dress.
So while I could make a mathematical algorithm factoring the overalls, the dress, the cameo, the pitchfork, the house (specifically the Gothic window) and the poses, it would still fail to match how well I see each image matching the spirit of the original, and the spirit of parodies in general.
What do YOU think? What elements NEED to be in an A.G. parody, and what are the best and worst examples?
My name is George and I'm a long time fan of American Gothic parodies. I started a fan site 20 years ago and through that page I met other collectors, made a few friends and made a few trades.