Red Grooms (American born 1937)
Charles Roger Grooms was born in 1937 in Nashville, Tennessee, a city that, with its lively honky-tonk scene and the theatricality of the historic Grand Ole Opry, would later influence much of his work. Nicknamed for his ginger hair, Red enrolled at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1955. A self-proclaimed “restless and undisciplined student,” Grooms spent the next few years moving between schools and cities, including the New School in New York, Peabody College (now part of Vanderbilt University) in Nashville, and Hans Hofmanns summer school in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Frustrated with the academic track and anxious to enter the New York art scene, Grooms abandoned formal education to focus exclusively on creating art and securing exhibition opportunities in his Chelsea neighborhood. There, he found quick success and a supportive circle of artists that became close friends and collaborators.
From the start of his career, Grooms has worked in multiple media, from painting, printmaking, and sculpture, to installation art, filmmaking, and theatrical experiences known as “Happenings.” Much of his art blurs the boundaries between these different forms, such as his large-scale, carefully-crafted environments he calls “sculpto-pictoramas,” and smaller objects like Dalí Salad. In this example, Grooms combines silkscreened and lithographic elements with a wooden base and acrylic dome to create a three-dimensional portrait of the famous Surrealist artist.