These works by Red Grooms remind me of Paul Cadmus in their jubilant chaos and cartoonish rendering. Like Cadmus, many of Grooms’ works are also biting social commentary; and both artists allegorize culture through a humorous lens.
In the above painting, The Unicorn Strikes Back (2006), we are presented with a Medieval painting that is not, cannot, be a Medieval painting. The mythological unicorn is at the center of the color-infused spectacle, as gayly dressed courtiers and knights-men attempt to capture the beast. The symbolism is rich and seems to spread in a thousand different directions and meanings.
Masters at the Met is another favorite of mine. In a Grooms painting, there is always a lot going on, and in this sense it reflects comic book art which is densely packed and filled with details. The diversity of the crowd alongside the “Masters” is an obvious contrast, but what exactly does Grooms intend with this odd juxtaposition?
The above lithograph, Taxi to the Terminal (1993), as well as the following three lithographs, can be found at The Marlborough Gallery. We read:
As a painter, sculptor, printmaker, filmmaker and theater designer, Grooms’ career to this point has been prolific. His graphic works alone encompass an array of art forms including etchings, lithographs (two and three-dimensional), monotypes, woodblock prints and spray-painted stencils. Throughout the late 1980’s and the mid 1990’s Grooms devoted himself to a series of prints and three-dimensional works called New York Stories for which he is well known.