Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Red is IT
In Sunday's NYT Book Review (right there on the front page) was Thomas Hoving's take on a book on Red Grooms, the populist artist that also appeals to the art-snob set. If Hoving's name sounds familiar, he may be bouncing in your head from the late 70's and 80's when He (according to Himself) single-handedly saved MOMA. Hoving makes the Donald seem like a wallflower, but that's another story. His review , while careful to include his own involvement, is so complimentary of both Mr. Grooms as well as this book, that it is Red Grooms who is the centerpiece of the article....as opposed to Mr. Hoving, Himself.
For anyone lucky enough to see a Red Grooms exhibition, this book will serve as a great trip down memory lane. For those who did not happen to be close to a city that held a celebration of his pieces (paintings, sculptures, etchings, life casts), please let this book serve as a smidgen of indication of his work. May it also help in persuading you to put seeing a Red Grooms collection on your "Must do before I depart the premises" list. From a short history of Mr. Grooms.
Grooms was born in Nashville, Tennessee and studied at the Peabody College there. He moved on to the Art Institute of Chicago, the New School for Social Research in New York and then a summer school in Provincetown run by Hans Hofmann.

He initially came to prominence with his Happenings in New York in the late Fifties. By the 1960s he was working on mixed-media installations featuring garish figures taking over whole rooms. In some ways like a comic strip come to life these events established his reputation. He went on to create more ambitious projects often drawing on a team of collaborators including his wife Mimi Gross. Besides these 'environments', Grooms has produced many paintings characterised by their vivid colours and distinctive figures, and has worked with the filmmaker Rudolph Burckhardt on a number of occasions.

Grooms has been an active member of the art scene for over 40 years and is a mainstay of American culture whose work will help define the nature of our times for years to come.

This book goes onto my Amazon wishlist.

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