Iowa Landscapes Deserve Artistic Attention

Iowa Landscapes Deserve Artistic Attention

This year is all about Grant Wood in Cedar Rapids. It’s celebration of the 125th birth-year anniversary of both Grant Wood and Marvin Cone and in honor, Cedar Rapids Museum of Art has a comparative exhibition of both artists’ work on display. Though their collection of these artists is extensive, this exhibition focuses on both artists’ landscapes, barns, and farms.

There is something wonderfully familiar about the art in this exhibition. The Iowan landscapes displayed are particularly easy to fall in love with.  CRMA has a few of  Wood’s smaller-scale, brush-y layered, impressionistic landscapes displayed. Three such landscapes depict a familiar place we know and love: Indian Creek. Wood’s Indian Creek is painted in oil in three seasons: a pink and blue spring, a deep humid green summer and a flaming orange and red fall. The colorful layers of these landscapes was enough to make a visit to the gallery worthwhile.

There are paintings in the exhibition that were already familiar, too. One painting visitors will definitely recognize is Wood’s well-known  “Young Corn” (1931). This is one of those of rolling Iowan hills,“Seuss-ical” trees, and budding corn crops. People from outside of Iowa may think of this state as being as a flat-Kansas, but if you’ve ridden a bike or seen a Grant Wood, you know this Iowa. Whenever I see hills like those “Young Corn,” I take a flash-back to cresting a huge hill on Ragbrai and looking out over the Iowan countryside to hills are far as the eyes (connected to a body connected to terribly pained legs) could see.

young corn

CEDAR RAPIDS MUSEUM OF ART Grant Wood, “Young Corn,” 1931. Oil on Masonite panel, 23.75 inches by 29.75 inches. Collection of the Cedar Rapids Community School District, on loan to the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art. L1.70.3.177.

The “Barns” section of the exhibition was a really well-done comparison between Grant Wood and Marvin Cone. Wood paints barns as these really intimate, quiet and shade-filled scenes. The viewer is positioned, at eye-level, low to the ground and you can imagine that you’re lounging beneath a tree just on the side of the barn. But Marvin Cone’s barns are like huge cathedrals. Cone gets the whole barn in the frame, plus the house next to it, and the road, and feet of sky, and the people who are doing farm work around it. Those who are familiar with the Marvin Cone depiction of Lil’Bo will recognize that as the style of these barns.

Marvin Cone Barn

CEDAR RAPIDS MUSEUM OF ART Marvin Cone, “From Iowa,” 1941. Oil on canvas, 16 inches by 32 inches. Bequest of John B. Turner II. 83.1.7. 

Marvin Cone and Grant Wood didn’t just paint farm landscapes, of course. They both painted industry, new agricultural technology, animals, portraits, and more. But it’s the landscapes and the barns that I feel fondly about as we move into another Iowan summer. Katherine Kanau, CRMA Associate Curator, said of the exhibit “Wood and Cone were both Iowa natives, and I believe their most enduring contribution to the art world was their belief that the Iowa landscape was worthy of artistic attention. Both artists had a deep love for the land and people of their home state, and this exhibition celebrates the ways in which they depicted this love through their art.” This exhibit feels very “heartland” and any native of the Corridor will love seeing an Iowa they recognize in this exhibition. It makes me wonder, who’s painting the landscape of Iowa nowadays? If you know, leave us a comment below!

The exhibit is open through May 15, 2016, so see it before it’s gone!


Of course, CRMA is a huge space with a wide variety of exhibitions currently on display from prints to ceramics to paintings to photography. And opening June 4th, is a visiting exhibition of Rodin sculpture that is promised to be world-class. The museum has very accessible hours, including Saturday 10-4pm, Sunday noon-4 and Thursday evenings until 8pm. The metered parking outside the museum (just next to Green Square) is free on weekends. If you haven’t been to CRMA, or you haven’t been recently, there is definitely enough there to entertain for a couple of hours at least.


Featured photo from #IowaBrag.



Get Ready for Mission Creek! April 5-10

Get Ready for Mission Creek! April 5-10

Mission Creek Festival returns to Iowa City April 5 – 10. The festival is dedicated to inspiring and building the arts and culture community in Eastern Iowa.

Each year the festival utilizes the existing cultural geography of Iowa City – bookstores, clothing stores, performance venues, and movie theaters – turning the downtown into an easily-navigated nexus of music, art, and transformative experiences. Most events will be within about five minutes walking of other events.

Mission Creek Festival is presented and produced by The Englert Theatre. Information on all Mission Creek events can be found on the Mission Creek website.


The Corridor Review is excited to cover the 2016 Mission Creek Festival. We’ll be live-tweeting events @CorridorReview.

Tuesday, April 5th:

Alison Bechdel

Venue: Englert Theatre
Doors Open:6:30 pm

Presented in partnership with University of Iowa Lecture Committee.
Time magazine named her book Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic the Best Book of 2006, describing the tightly architected investigation into her closeted bisexual father’s suicide “a masterpiece about two people who live in the same house but different worlds, and their mysterious debts to each other.” Fun Home was adapted into a musical in 2015 and was nominated for five Tony Awards including “Best Musical.”

Thursday, April 7th:

Venue: The Mill
Doors Open:8:00 pm
Supporting Act(s):Subatlantic The Wandering Bears

Co-Presented by SCOPE Productions
Originating from Baraboo, WI, the band members of PHOX have since formed an American sextet creating an alternative form of folk/indie pop blend with beautiful tones and rhythm.

Since releasing their album, PHOX has continued to capture listeners with their folk-pop mixes. Drawing inspiration from Feist, Sufjan Stevens, and countless others, the members of PHOX will do nothing shy of sooth your soul.



Venue: Gabe’s
Doors Open:8:00 pm
Price:$15 – $18
Supporting Act(s):Trouble Lights Cuticle

YACHT are artists based in Los Angeles.
“YACHT’s new album, I Thought The Future Would Be Cooler, is a sweeping and visionary critique of the 21st century. It reveals the band at its most self-assured: critical, funny, tough, and musically diverse, crafting an infectious and hyperactive conceptual pop that seems to seep through the walls of an alternate universe. YACHT’s knowing references to technology, feminism, and media are layered in complex arrangements in songs about holograms and phones, police violence and identity, sex and the future.”


7th Annual Lit Crawl

Writers and publishers from across the country again invade downtown Iowa City businesses for three hours of literary mayhem. More information coming soon. Visit for more details.


Friday, April 8th:

Marc Maron

Venue: Englert Theatre
Doors Open:6:00 pm
For more than twenty years, Marc Maron has been writing and performing raw, honest and thought-provoking comedy for print, stage, radio and television. A legend in the stand-up community, Maron has appeared on HBO, Letterman, Leno, Craig Ferguson, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Real Time with Bill Maher, John Oliver’s New York Stand-Up, The Green Room and two Comedy Central Presents specials. He has appeared on Conan O’Brien more times than any other comedian.


San Fermin

Venue: Gabe’s
Doors Open:8:00 pm
Supporting Act(s):Esme Patterson Extravision
San Fermin is a lush Brooklyn-based baroque pop band, molded by the talented Ellis Ludwig-Leone after he graduated from Yale, where he studied composition and assisted Nico Muhly, a well-known contemporary classical music composer and arranger. The band has traveled all over the world, playing sold-out shows and opening for prominent bands such as the National, St. Vincent, Arctic Monkeys, and The Head and the Heart. With their blend of classical music, pop, and rock, featuring wide-ranging lead vocals from Charlene Kaye and Allen Tate, San Fermin’s live performances have been noted to deliver an emotional and epic experience.


Information on these events and many more can be found on the Mission Creek website.

“Place-Making” With Public Art