Tennessee State Museum / 1000 Rosa L. Parks Blvd. October 5, 2018 - January 13, 2019

Red Grooms

Charles “Red” Grooms, performance artist, filmmaker, printmaker, and cartoonist, was born in Nashville in 1937. Known best for his colorful popart, Grooms captured both the grotesqueness and the humor of everyday life. Today, Grooms stands among Tennessee’s cultural icons. He attended Hillsboro High School, where he met Walter Knestrick, and they both took art classes together. Knestrick became a life-long collector of the graphic works of his friend. This exhibition contains what Knestrick has generously donated to the Tennessee State Museum, as well as earlier pieces the Museum had acquired. They trace Grooms’ work in the mid-50s, when he focused on the human body, macabre figures, and monstrous faces; then into Grooms’ exploration with new media in the 1960s when he began experimenting with 16-millimeter film and three-dimensional pieces; and emerging into the end of the decade when he received his first significant recognition with City of Chicago. The exhibition also covers the next two decades, which see Grooms celebrate major urban environments, with prints and three-dimensional works, and the artist’s look at the rich variety of city life, with gritty depictions of everyday activities, and colorful characters one encounters in city living. From the 1990s to present, Grooms has begun to reflect back, on great artists who came before, as well as the Civil War, examining the battles, leaders, and events of that period in his prints, paintings, and sculptural works.

image: Red Grooms, Study of Corner of Canal Street, 1993