Reed Anderson, Associate Professor of Art History at the Kansas City Art Institute
In 1937, the Regionalist artist Grant Wood created Sultry Night, one of the nineteen lithographs he would make for the Association of American Artists (AAA). The print caused an immediate sensation because of its blatant depiction of a naked farmhand bathing from a livestock trough by moonlight. The lecture will examine the controversy that erupted over Wood’s print and discuss how it relates to and departs from other artistic representations of male bathers, which are conspicuously scarce in the history of art. The lecture will also explore the calculated eroticism implicit in the print’s composition and title, as well as the possibility that Wood deliberately invested this image and other depictions of male bathers with a gay subtext.