Red Grooms: Traveling Correspondent

October 15, 2016 – January 8, 2017

Listen to the audio tour

Exhibition Overview

Red Grooms, Rockefeller Center, 1995,
Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, LLC, New York

Grooms’s treatment of New York City and Tennessee provides the focus for Red Grooms: Traveling Correspondent. The distinct bodies of work reflect time spent in these radically different environments, specifically those that most define him as a person and an artist.

Growing up in Tennessee, he encountered the southern storytelling and literary traditions as well as such spectacles as state fairs and the Grand Ole Opry. These experiences were manifest beginning in the late 1950s in his happenings, and from the 1960s on in his films, installations, paintings, prints, and sculpture.

His studies with Hans Hofmann in Provincetown and subsequent immersion in the New York art scene blended with his southern background to produce a vibrant art that celebrates bustling city life; the city provided his subjects: people riding buses and subways, stores, street scenes, parades, and the urban landscape. Although the Tennessee works are quieter and more bucolic, they too teem with telling details—interesting characters, hand painted signs, and animals. Like a correspondent, he makes note of people and situations, capturing the salient details that bring a scene to life.

Red Grooms, Tennessee S Curve, 2001, 2001.10 

The exhibition includes approximately 50 examples of Grooms’s signature three-dimensional paintings, sculptures, installations, prints, and films, spanning 1961 to 2015, and thereby provides an excellent overview of his artistic production. The accompanying catalogue will include three scholarly essays and full-color reproductions of all the works in the exhibition. 


Red Grooms
American (b. 1937)
Rockefeller Center, 1995
Mixed media construction
Courtesy of Michael Rosenfeld Gallery, LLC, New York
© 1995 Red Grooms

Red Grooms
American, b. 1937
Tennessee S Curve, 2001
Enamel on epoxy on Styrofoam
Memphis Brooks Museum of Art purchase; Morrie A. Moss Acquisition Fund
2001.10
© Red Grooms / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York


Organized by Memphis Brooks Museum of Art.


Generously sponsored by the First Tennessee Foundation.


Click below to watch a tour of Red Grooms: Traveling Correspondent with the artist himself!

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