Public Program

Artist Talk: Nancy Grossman

Best known for her sculptures of leather-wrapped heads, Nancy Grossman discusses her practice of more than fifty years with Michelle White, Senior Curator.

About the artist:

Nancy Grossman (b. 1940) studied painting under Richard Lindner at Pratt Institute, earning her BFA in 1962. That same year, Krasner Gallery mounted her first solo exhibition and in 1963 she won a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship. Grossman’s work of the early to mid-1960s consists of collages, expressive figurative drawings and paintings, and a body of assemblage reliefs that integrate found leather, metal, and wood. In 1968, she completed the first of her iconic leather head sculptures, a series she would expand over the next twenty-five years that embodies the thematic throughlines of her art: an embrace of gender ambiguity, an interest in formal contradiction and conflict, an audacious use of leather, and a rich sensuality. Throughout her career, Grossman has explored the mediums of drawing, collage, and assemblage with works that express themes of repression, psychological turmoil, and the animalistic aspects of human nature. Her work has been the subject of two major museum exhibitions in recent decades: Nancy Grossman: Heads at MoMA PS1 and Nancy Grossman: Tough Life Diary in 2012, a five-decade survey curated by Ian Berry at The Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, which was accompanied by a comprehensive monograph. Grossman has received a steady flow of accolades throughout her career 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). This spring, she will be awarded The Medal of Honor by the National Arts Club. Grossman’s work is in numerous museum collections including the Art Institute of Chicago; Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen; Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art; The Israel Museum; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Museum of Modern Art; Nasher Sculpture Center; Smithsonian American Art Museum; and the Whitney Museum of American Art. Grossman lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
The Artist Talk series is supported by a gift from the Cockrell Family Fund.

Attending the program:

This program takes place in the main building, located at 1533 Sul Ross Street. Additional information regarding accessibility and parking can be found here.

As always, Menil programs are free and open to all.