I finally managed to get to the Royal Academy’s ‘America after the Fall’ an exhibition of American art of the 1930s. It was a sort of pilgrimage to see Grant Wood’s ‘American Gothic’ which like most people I had only ever seen in posters, and not actually in the flesh. But this exhibition is so much more than these iconic works by Wood, Hart Benson and Hopper, of a brooding America during the Great Depression. This most difficult decade in American history appears to have elicited an extraordinary artistic response that we are privileged to see at this exhibition. The painting ‘American Justice’ by Joe Jones is probably the most disturbing of all, a depiction of a group of hooded Klansmen chatting after the brutal slaying of a black girl, whose semi naked body is shown in the foreground of the picture almost into the viewer’s own space. While many of the other paintings are less sinister, most have a brooding quality that is redolent of the era, from Wood’s landscapes to Hopper’s ‘Gas’. Many of the images are imbued with a heavy pathos, most notably in Hart Benson’s ‘Cotton Pickers’