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The Native Tourist
reformed/biblical observations on Christianity and culture

Friday, November 24, 2006
Charm without the Sauce
Lauren Winner sings the praises of art of Grandma Moses in Books & Culture, which interestingly enough, has a Thanksgiving angle:

The art and the artist also embodied a certain kind of femininity that seemed under threat during wartime. When Grandma Moses appeared at Gimbels' Thanksgiving Forum, the department store advertised her appearance with this declaration: "She's more than a great American artist. She's a great American housewife. The sort of American housewife who has kept the tradition of Thanksgiving alive. Fussing with cranberry sauce may seem a bit useless in these turbulent times. It's not. A woman … can fight to make the world a pleasanter place by perfecting her cranberries." Women, in other words, didn't need to become Rosie the Riveter to support the triumph of democracy over fascism. They could serve the cause of freedom simply by turning out a tasty cranberry sauce.

I saw an exhibit of Grandma Moses' work at the Portland Art Museum several years ago. I tried really hard to like her stuff. I can't tell you how utterly unimpressed I was (as was my entire family). She was an keen observer of the details of country life. But as an artist she was incredibly poor. All charm but no depth.

I can't help wondering if the art world would make such a fuss if she was only 30 when the painted her stuff...