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Red Grooms: An American Landmark in Media Art and Pop Art

American multimedia artist (painting, sculpture, and printmaking), Charles Rogers Grooms, also known as Red Grooms, was born on June 7, 1937 in Nashville, Tennessee. He studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, Illinois, and later at Peabody College, Nashville. In 1956, Grooms moved to New York City and enrolled at the New School for Social Research. A year later, while beginning his career as a restaurant dishwasher, he too joined the Hans Hoffmann School of Fine Arts in Provincetown, Massachusetts. It was here that he interacted extensively with animators such as Yvonne Andersen, with whom he later completed a series of short films. Here Dominic Falcone of Sun Gallery, Provincetown dubbed Grooms “Red”.

Charles Rogers is best known for his contributions to spontaneous art events, also known as ‘Happenings’ and is also famous for his ‘Pop Art’ constructions, which are mainly brightly coloured, displayed in various media. Most of his works have generated a satirically funny view of modern life and this can be seen in his film “Fat Feet (1965)”. Red Grooms’ work as “The Burning Building” was also highly appreciated. It was performed in his New York studio from December 4 to December 11, 1959. Other famous works by Red include “Play Called Fire” and “The Walking Man.”

Red Grooms also invented ‘Sculpto-Pictoramas’, a type of installation created from various media, especially sculpture and painting, to engage viewers. The example of ‘Sculpto-Pictoramas’ can be seen in “The City of Chicago (1968)” and “Ruckus Manhattan (1975)”. The artist created these works together with Mimi Gross, his wife. The couple also appeared in Mike Kuchar’s “Secret of Wendel Samson (1966).” Several of Red’s works have a strong sense of history and can be classified as insightful, which is clearly visible in “Nighthawks Revisited (1980)”, “Philadelphia Cornucopia (1982)” and “Studio at Rue des Grands-Augustin’s ( 1990-96)”. Grooms was also often criticized for some of his works such as “Shoot-out (1983)”, where he portrayed a cowboy and an American Indian shooting each other and another where his sculptures were chosen for his callousness. towards Indian history.

In 1985, Grooms exhibited 29 years of his works at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia. It contained all the paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings and huge “Sculpto-Pictoramas”. In addition to the US, Grooms’ works have been exhibited in Europe and Japan. In the 1990s, the artist returned to Nashville, Tennessee, and created some 36 figures from Nashville history for the Tennessee Foxtrot Carousel. His engraving ranges from woodcuts, stencils, etchings and lithographs. In 2003, the National Academy of Design presented him with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Currently, Red Grooms lives and works in New York City, lower Manhattan with his daughter Saskia Grooms.

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