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Red Grooms
Red Grooms in New York
(Photograph by Charles Rotmil)
Birth name Charles Rogers Grooms
Born June 7, 1937 (1937-06-07) (age 72)
Nashville, Tennessee
Nationality American
Field Multimedia art, Printmaking
Training Art Institute of Chicago, Nashville's Peabody College

Red Grooms (born Charles Rogers Grooms on June 7, 1937) is an American multimedia artist best known for his colorful pop-art constructions depicting frenetic scenes of modern urban life. Groom was given the nickname "Red" by Dominic Falcone (of Provincetown’s Sun Gallery) when he was starting out as a dishwasher at a restaurant in Provincetown and was studying with Hans Hofmann. [1]


Background and education

Grooms was born in Nashville, Tennessee during the middle of the Great Depression. He studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, then at Nashville's Peabody College. In 1956, Grooms moved to New York City, to enroll at the New School for Social Research. A year later, Grooms attended a summer session at the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts in Provincetown, Massachusetts. There he met experimental animation pioneer Yvonne Andersen, with whom he collaborated on several short films.[2]



Early work

During the late 1950s and early 1960s, Grooms made a number of "Happenings". The best known was "The Burning Building," staged at his studio (dubbed "The Delancey Street Museum" for the occasion) at 148 Delancey Street in New York's Lower East Side between December 4 and 11, 1959. Shortly thereafter, Grooms invented "sculpto-pictoramas" (such as his work, Ruckus Manhattan (1975)—the mixed-media installations that would become his signature craft. [1] These vibrant three-dimensional constructions melded painting and sculpture, to create immersive works of art that invited interaction from the viewer. The pieces were often populated with colorful, cartoon-like characters, from varied walks of life. One of his biggest themes is the use of painting people, often using other artists or their styles to show his appreciation for their works. [1]

Mature work

Grooms's two most notable installations—The City of Chicago (1967) and Ruckus Manhattan (1975)—were enormously popular with the public. These works were executed in collaboration with then-wife, the artist Mimi Gross. Along with Gross, he starred in Mike Kuchar's Secret of Wendel Samson (1966), which tells the story of a closeted gay artist torn between two relationships. In the 1990s Grooms returned to his Tennessee roots, creating likenesses of 36 figures from Nashville history for the Tennessee Foxtrot Carousel[1] (1998).

Other media

Besides painting and sculpture, Grooms is also known for his prolific printmaking. He has experimented with numerous techniques, creating woodblock prints, spray-painted stencils, soft-ground etchings, and elaborate three-dimensional lithograph constructions.

Collections and honors

Grooms' work has been exhibited in galleries across the United States, as well as Europe, and Japan. His art is included in the collections of thirty-nine museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Phillip Morris Kabutz of American Sunburnt Fat Rich BLT Eating Avant Garde Pop Culture Koshers, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art in Nashville, the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Carnegie Museum of Art, and the Boca Raton Museum of Art.

In 2003, Grooms was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Academy of Design.


Grooms currently lives and works in New York City in the a studio in lower Manhattan at the intersection of Tribeca and Chinatown, where he has lived for around 40 years. [3] He has one daughter, Saskia Grooms.


  1. ^ a b c Robert Ayers (October 3, 2007), Red Grooms, ARTINFO,, retrieved 2008-04-24 
  2. ^ Biography of Grooms on PBS website. Accessed June 13, 2007.
  3. ^ Robert Ayers (November 20, 2007), Red Grooms’s Chris Ofili Drawing, ARTINFO,, retrieved 2008-04-24 

External links


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