An American Unforgettable

God Bless America by J. Seward Johnson 

Is American Gothic America’s best-known iconic image? Certainly it’s one of them. Grant Wood’s dual portrait has captured the American imagination and been reproduced thousands of times, in every medium.

Recently, a 25-foot-tall sculpture inspired by the iconic painting was installed in Nassau County’s Eisenhower Park. God Bless America, by American artist J. Seward Johnson, is on loan from The Sculpture Foundation, which encourages the placement of public art.

J. Seward Johnson, a Johnson & Johnson heir, turned his attention to sculpture in 1968 after a successful career as a painter of impressionistic landscapes. Through careful placement, he allows his figures to become silent participants in the daily lives of the public. According to Johnson:

“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.”

As an alumnus of Hofstra University, I recall another Johnson statue. Creating sits under a shady tree in one of the grassy quads on campus. Johnson’s Creating was added to the Hofstra Museum collection in 1985 after an exhibition of his sculptures on campus.

God Bless America by J. Seward Johnson  

Additional information online:

American Gothic: A Life of America’s Most Famous Paintingby Steven Biel
Grant Wood Studio
Grounds For Sculpture, New Jersey
Johnson Atelier
Nassau installs sculpture in Eisenhower Parkfrom Newsday

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Alanna
    Dec 17, 2008 @ 01:23:18

    This is now situated in Chicago

    Thanks Alanna for the update.


  2. moonrun
    Feb 22, 2010 @ 23:42:28

    Shouldn’t J. Seward Johnson’s sculpture, “God Bless America”, have one of these titles:

    “God Bless American Gothic”
    “God Bless Grant Wood”
    “God Bless Plagiarism”

    The least Johnson could have done, is acknowledge Grant Wood, in the title of this semi-original sculpture.


  3. Trackback: Great Wipeout « MadSilence

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