Iowa Alumni Magazine | June 2011 | Reviews

Don't Knock on Wood

By Malcolm McMichael

My family and I have a long history with Grant Wood. My mother and father knew him personally, while I knew and visited Grant's sister, Nan, when she lived in California. My father collected Wood's lithographs, which now hang in my home. On the 100th anniversary of Grant's birthday, I attended the celebration in Iowa City and Cedar Rapids.

I am not sure any facts in R. Tripp Evans' book [featured in "The Ghost of Grant Wood," IAM, February 2011, p. 28] are incorrect, but the author's view seems to be clouded because he believes Grant to have been gay. In fact, that seems to be the message of the book. Evans sees "gayness" in every Wood brushstroke, saying that when Wood painted a cloud, he was really referring to a buttock-and therefore, Wood was gay. I thought that the clouds looked like clouds, but I was just a BSC guy at Iowa.

To me, the disservice to Grant Wood is the fact that the University of Iowa has not honored him as he deserves. If the "true" Grant Wood story is that he was gay (a fact that seems to be pretty well accepted), honestly, who cares? Grant Wood was a great artist, and I believe that our university should be proud to be associated with him.

Malcolm "Mike" McMichael*, 52BSC
Northbrook, Illinois