Nancy Grossman 1975: An Interview

1975 | 00:30:12 | United States | English | B&W | Mono | 4:3 | 1/2" open reel video

Collection: On Art and Artists, Interviews, Single Titles

Tags: Blumenthal/Horsfield Interviews, Interview, Sculpture

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Best known for her carved wooden heads wrapped in black leather affixed with zippers, glass eyes, enamel noses, spikes and straps, Nancy Grossman (b.1940) is accomplished in draftsmanship, assemblage, and relief sculpture as well as carvings. After growing up on a farm in upstate New York, Grossman went to Pratt, where Richard Lindner’s emphasis on the figure and in the integrity of his personal syntax became an influence. In the 1960s her head sculptures brought her notoriety and five solo exhibitions before the age of thirty. While the male figure has been a persistent motif in her work, her figures evoke themes varying from brutal aggressiveness to fluent femininity. Grossman’s attention to process and materials is a consistent emphasis. Her assemblages combine the precision of the drawn line with the resonances of found materials and the human bodies they touch and/or reference.

Grossman begins the interview with her early interest as an artist and her education at Pratt in the late 1950s. Like many artists of this period she had to struggle financially to support her collages and sculpture. She did this (reluctantly) by illustrating books until she received a Guggenheim Fellowship, which freed her to concentrate on her work. In this interview with Kate Horsfield, Grossman talks about finding her vision by moving from collage to drawing and sculpture.

A historical interview originally recorded in 1975 and re-edited in 2008 with support from the Lyn Blumenthal Memorial Fund.