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NANCY GROSSMAN


“You can define my work conceptual, as you can call it sensual. I like to think there’s less to read and more to touch, less to say and more to feel…no, I can’t say that, it’s too poetical. Sculpture strikes me as being deaf and dumb. It’s a necessity, more than anything else, a way to escape from all the rules with which you were brought up.” —Nancy Grossman, in an interview with Stefano Pasquini, NY Arts Magazine, December 2000


Michael Rosenfeld Gallery celebrates the 80th birthday of the incomparable Nancy Grossman, a master of sculpture, drawing and collage known for her audacious use of materials to create striking works inspired by the human condition. On the occasion of this milestone, we recall our rich history with the artist—the gallery has exclusively represented Grossman since 1997— and we present a selection of works from every decade of her remarkable career. Here, we spotlight a sampling of works for which she is known, from her seminal abstract relief assemblages and her pioneering sculptural heads to dynamic collages and haunting drawings. Michael Rosenfeld Gallery has consistently shown Grossman’s work, presenting to-date five solo exhibitions. In 2000, the gallery mounted Nancy Grossman: Loud Whispers, Four Decades of Assemblage, Collage, and Sculpture (2000) which was accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue with new scholarship by Lowery Stokes Sims; this exhibition traveled to the Greenville County Museum of Art (SC) and Savannah College of Art and Design (GA). Between 2007 to 2016, three focused exhibitions were organized and they include, Nancy Grossman: Drawings (2007); Nancy Grossman: Combustion Scapes (2011); and a spotlight solo presentation at Frieze Masters in London (2016) titled Nancy Grossman: The 1960s. In 2014, Michael Rosenfeld Gallery presented its fifth solo exhibition for the artist—Nancy Grossman: The Edge of Always, Constructions from the 1960s—which was awarded Best Show in a Commercial Space in New York by the International Art Critics Association of America. Additionally, the gallery has included Grossman’s work in over fifteen landmark group exhibitions, including Collage: Made in America (1995); Fiber and Form: The Woman’s Legacy (1996); True Grit (2000); METAL: American Sculpture, 1945-1970 (2016); and Art of Defiance: Radical Materials (2019). She is currently featured in the gallery’s exhibition Paper Power.


Born in New York City in 1940, Grossman attended Pratt Institute, earning her BFA degree in 1962 and, in 1965, she received a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. At this time, Grossman began creating her famous sculptures of heads, which she carefully carved in found wood, overlaid with leather, and then adorned with zippers, glass eyes, enamel noses, spikes and straps. Along with her related collages and drawings, these works contain the central aspects of Grossman’s art: an embrace of gender ambiguity, an interest in formal contradiction and conflict, and a rich sensuality. Throughout her impressive career, Grossman has received a steady flow of accolades, including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (1984), a National Academician Award from the National Academy Museum (1994), a Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant (1996-97), a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant (2001), and a Women’s Caucus for Art Lifetime Achievement Award (2008). In 2012, the Tang Museum at Skidmore College presented Nancy Grossman: Tough Life Diary, a fivedecade survey accompanied by a published comprehensive monograph. In recent years, Grossman has been featured in various major exhibitions, including Delirious: Art at the Limits of Reason, 1950-1980 (2017) and Like Life: Sculpture, Color, and the Body (2018) at The Met Breuer of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and Art After Stonewall, 1969 to 1989, organized by the Grey Art Gallery of New York University (2019). Her work is represented in the permanent collections of museums worldwide including the Art Institute of Chicago (IL); Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution (Washington, DC); Israel Museum (Jerusalem); The Menil Collection (Houston, TX); The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Museum of Modern Art (New York, NY); Nasher Sculpture Center (Dallas, TX); Smithsonian American Art Museum (Washington, DC); and the Whitney Museum of American Art (New York, NY). Grossman continues to live and work in Brooklyn, NY.


1960s


Photographer Unknown

Nancy Grossman at Krasner Gallery in New York City, 1965


Self Portrait, 1965 graphite on paper 17 x 13 3/4 inches 43.2 x 34.9 cm


For David Smith, 1965 leather, metal, rubber, fabric and paint assemblage on canvas mounted on plywood 85 x 85 x 6 3/4 inches 215.9 x 215.9 x 17.1 cm signed


Potawatami, 1967 leather, rubber and metal assemblage on plywood 63 1/8 x 38 x 11 3/4 inches 160.3 x 96.5 x 29.8 cm signed


Untitled, 1967 collage, watercolor, ink and polymer glue on paper 14 3/4 x 10 inches 37.5 x 25.4 cm signed


Untitled, 1968 leather, wood, epoxy and metal hardware 16 7/8 x 7 1/2 x 8 3/4 inches 42.9 x 19.1 x 22.2 cm signed


1970s


Photographer Guido Mangold

Nancy Grossman in her Eldridge Street studio, New York City, c.1970


Untitled, 1973 lithographic crayon on coated paper 40 x 26 inches 101.6 x 66.0 cm signed


Black, 1973-74 leather, wood, paint, epoxy, cast aluminum and metal hardware 16 x 9 1/4 x 7 3/4 inches 40.6 x 23.5 x 19.7 cm signed


Double Portrait, 1974 collage of various papers and tape with watercolor on board 36 x 48 inches 91.4 x 121.9 cm signed


Collage Pastel #2, 1976 collage of dyed paper, tape, watercolor and pastel on paper 26 x 20 inches 66.0 x 50.8 cm signed


Corridor, 1977 fabric, leather, paint and graphite assemblage on canvas 73 3/4 x 49 1/2 x 2 inches 187.3 x 125.7 x 5.1 cm signed


1980s


Photographer Sylvia Plachy

Nancy Grossman in her Eldridge Street studio, New York City, 1988


H.U.F., 1980 leather over wood 16 3/4 x 8 1/8 x 9 5/8 inches 42.5 x 20.6 x 24.4 cm signed


Succot, 1983 metal, leather, wood, bristle and rubber 123 x 45 x 40 inches 312.4 x 114.3 x 101.6 cm


Untitled, 1985 ink and wash on paper 15 1/2 x 20 1/4 inches 39.4 x 51.4 cm signed


Light Is Faster Than Sound, 1987-88 collage with paint on Masonite 36 x 48 inches 91.4 x 121.9 cm signed


1990s


Photographer Barbara Yoshida

Nancy Grossman in her Eldridge Street studio, New York City, 1991


Gunhead, 1991 bronze with patina and copper wire 16 x 8 x 18 1/2 inches 40.6 x 20.3 x 47.0 cm signed


Volcano Dream-Destruction Dream, 1993 mixed media collage drawing 28 3/4 x 40 inches 73.0 x 101.6 cm signed


Opus Volcanus (triptych), 1994 mixed media assemblage 50 x 80 x 7 inches 127.0 x 203.2 x 17.8 cm signed


Snake Still-Life with Swimming Pool, 1993 mixed media collage with various papers on Masonite 35 1/4 x 44 5/8 inches 89.5 x 113.3 cm signed


2000s


Nancy Grossman photographed by Bjarne Jonasson for Intermission Magazine, 2013


Post Percussion-scape (aka P.P.S.), 2000 mixed media assemblage 15 3/4 x 27 3/4 x 2 1/2 inches 40.0 x 70.5 x 6.3 cm signed


A Page, 2000 wood, metal, plastic, paint and leather assemblage 22 1/2 x 14 x 3 1/2 inches 57.1 x 35.6 x 8.9 cm signed


Untitled, 2008 intaglio print on paper 17 x 13 1/4 inches 43.2 x 33.7 cm signed


My Terrible Stomach, 1964/2015 assemblage of wood, metal, plastic, rubber and string 86 1/2 x 24 1/2 x 14 1/2 inches 219.7 x 62.2 x 36.8 cm signed


Monkey Fur, 1979-2016 assemblage of found objects 63 x 26 x 15 inches 160.0 x 66.0 x 38.1 cm


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Nancy Grossman  

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