Red Grooms Term Paper

Pages: 7 (2065 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  Level: College Sophomore  ·  Topic: Art  (general)

Red Grooms

the context of Pop art

The movement in modern art towards Pop art, environmental and action art and other forms of expression was in many regards a natural evolution of modernist art forms. By its very nature, art is always striving forwards to innovations and experiments in an attempt to break the moulds and the perceived restrictions of the past. This paper will explore the work of Red Grooms in relation to the context of the development and acceptance of Pop art.

Pop art is a term that refers to 'popular art'. This term was first used in an article by Lawrence Alloway, "The Arts and the Mass Media," which was published in the February 1958 issue of Architectural Design. (Steinbeck Center Past Art and Cultural Events) the exhibitions that was to bring Pop art to the attention of the American public was the New Realists, held at New York's Sidney Janis Gallery in November 1962. (Steinbeck Center Past Art and Cultural Events) a common definition of Pop art is as follows;

the first post-war art movement to embrace mass-media photographic imagery. Popular culture, consumer products, and photos of media stars provided the subject matter and the materials for artists who, no longer satisfied with abstract painting, were looking for a more playful and ironic strategy than the modernist insistence on heroic stances and deep spiritual references.

Pop Art)

There are many causative factors that are given for the rise and popularly of this form of art. One reason is that it was in essence a reaction and intimately related to the increase in capitalist consumerism, particularly in countries like America during the 1950s and 1960. Another causative aspect is that Pop art was also a reaction to the artistic norms that dominated the art scene at the time, such as Abstract Expressionism, which many young artists during this period felt were out of step with the modern world and the representation of that world. They also reacted against the spiritual and existential search for meaning of modernist high art. "Rejecting the Abstract Expressionist artist's heroic personal stance and the spiritual or psychological content of his work, Pop artists took a more playful and ironic approach to art and life, often drawing on advertising and the media for subjects" (Steinbeck Center Past Art and Cultural Events)

Pop art was therefore characterized by dissatisfaction with many of the artistic norms of the time and many artists felt that the way that art was created and presented, as well as its subject mater, was out of date. These artists made use of the elements of the commercial, industrial and technological world in which they lived; which included aspects of the media, such as advertising. A famous example of this artistic attitude was Andy Warhol's works, such as Green Coca Cola Bottles and Campbell's Soup Cans. It is important to note that Pop art was "... both a product and critique of the social milieu "(the Andy Warhol Pop Art Legacy).

Pop artists also questioned the formal aspects of art creation and presentation and refused to be confined by any conventional restrictions. For example, the presentation of art in the formal confines of a gallery was not seen by these artists to be a necessary or essential aspect of art. This view relates to art events and 'happenings" that took place outside the gallery and in fact in any place or venue.

The primacy and values of "high art" were also denied by this movement and this was emphasized by the inclusion of ordinary, mundane aspects from the industrial and commercial world. In essence, this form of art was determined to explore the possibilities that were available in the media and the ordinary world in the pursuit of more open, playful and interactive art forms. This trend was also evident in the popularity of 'happenings'. A happening is usually defined as an "....unstructured live theatrical performance that incorporated painting, sculpture and drama" (RED GROOMS - an ARTIST for ALL REASONS).

The extent to which Pop art became a part of the art world and the way that it went on to change the perception of what art is or should be, is expressed by one critic as follows, "... fine art has become thoroughly entangled in Popular culture, and from that observation it sometimes follows... that it is old-fashioned or misguided to engage in special pleading for 'high' art" (Contemporary art, uncovered: a survey of major newspapers and weekly magazines suggests...)

Red Grooms and Pop Art

One of the initiators of this form of art was Red Grooms. The works that he as well as other artists in this genre in the 1960s and 70s created were important in the development and the acceptance of Pop art. While Red Grooms' art is unusually associated with large environmental sculptural works and "happenings," his oeuvre covered a very wide range of forms and mediums of expression. These include printmaking, sculpture, paper engineering, acting, film directing, set design as well as other eclectic and different forms of art expression and innovation. (RED GROOMS - an ARTIST for ALL REASONS)

However, Grooms grasped the attention of critics and the public alike with his creative "sculpto-picoramas." This refers to his large three-dimensional environmental works. These works are often a combination of various art forms - such as Pop art and Expressionism. Grooms also used various media that ranged from cardboard to steel or fiberglass in his works. His work is also characterized by a combination of different styles and forms that create a unique amalgam and synthesis. His three-dimensional dioramas have been described as combining"...the sophistication of high art with the naivete of folk art and the caricature of the cartoonist." (RED GROOMS - an ARTIST for ALL REASONS).

Red Grooms was attracted to the excitement and the energy of new art from relatively early in his art career. He found it extremely difficult to adhere or conform to the conventional tenets of the art schools and institutions of his time. It was only while he was enrolled at Hans Hoffman's school of Fine Arts at in Provincetown, that he found an environment that was conducive to his feelings and intuitions about art. As he states of this early period; "I didn't understand Hoffmann, but I did want to get into the action. The school was heavily abstract and I wanted to do Pop stuff even though Pop didn't really exist" (RED GROOMS - an ARTIST for ALL REASONS).

He was to join other artists in Provincetown and began staging performances, where the audience way invited to view the actual creation of the work of art and not just the completed creation. This innovation was to lead to the famous happenings of that period.

Grooms collaborated with other artist's who were also to become well-known names in the Pop art movement. These included, Claes Oldenburg, Judson Church and Jim Dine. (RED GROOMS - an ARTIST for ALL REASONS). Groom's happenings also had an impact in major art centers like New York. One of the most famous of his happenings was entitled Burning Building (1959). This dramatic piece in which Grooms acted, emphasized the tenor of his style by "...blending a kaleidoscope of costumes, props, visual distortions and animation into his work" (RED GROOMS - an ARTIST for ALL REASONS).

In 1968, Grooms created his first large-scale large environmental artwork. This was a three-dimensional panorama called the City of Chicago. This large satirical view of city life was described as a "...sprawling sculpture that depicted local landmarks and inhabitants with a mix of comedy, revelry and horror. It earned a cover article in Look magazine" (RED GROOMS - an ARTIST for ALL REASONS). The work received a great amount of popular and critical recognition and was to initiate his success in the art world.

There are as number of major themes that resonate in much of his work. These include the vibrant chaos of the city, the carnival or circus and the glitz and character of country music associated with this home, Tennessee.

The attraction of the modern city as a subject can be seen in one of his most famous works, Ruckus Manhattan (1975). This creation was to be add impetus to his art career. The massive creation depicted scenes from Lower Manhattan. This fascination with New York was to be repeated in many subsequent works.

As noted, another important theme was country music and Tennessee, where" the flash and glitter of country music permeated his life?

he was intrigued by the, garish elements of his hometown" (Cole 23). The two cities, Nashville and New York, were to become thematically important in his development as an artist.

Between them, the experience he accumulated as a sculptor, painter, puppeteer and filmmaker, each helped to form the show business quality that underlies his work as a mix of theater, circus, comic strip and parade" (Cole 23).

Another of his acclaimed works is the Bus. This work also explores… [END OF PREVIEW]

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