Nancy Grossman 1981: An Interview

1981 | 00:24:10 | United States | English | B&W | 4:3 | 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.

In this interview with Kate Horsfield, Grossman more fully describes her progress with collages, drawings and her life-sized leather covered heads. She protests the unfair critical assessment of this work, which focused on the sexualized and transgressive elements of the bound and zipped heads.

A historical interview originally recorded in 1981 and re-edited in 2008 with support from the Lyn Blumenthal Memorial Fund.