Red Grooms (born Charles Rogers Grooms on June 7, 1937) is an American multimedia artist best known for his colorful pop-art constructions depicting frenetic scenes of modern urban life. Grooms was given the nickname ''Red'' by Dominic Falcone (of Provincetowns Sun Gallery) when he was starting out as a dishwasher at a restaurant in Provincetown and was studying with Hans Hofmann.
Grooms was born in Nashville, Tennessee during the middle of the Great Depression.Grooms attended a summer session at the Hans HofmannSchool of Fine Arts in Provincetown, Massachusetts. There he met experimental animation pioneer Yvonne Andersen, with whom he collaborated on several short films. In 1969, Peter Schjeldahl compared Grooms to Marcel Duchamp, because both embodied ''a movement of one man that is open to everybody.''
During the late 1950s and early 1960s, Grooms made a number of ''Happenings''. The best known was The Burning Building, staged at his studio (dubbed ''The Delancey Street Museum'' for the occasion) at 148 Delancey Street in New York's Lower East Side between December 4 and 11, 1959.
Inspired by George Mlis's 1902 film A Trip to the Moon, Grooms' early film Shoot the Moon (1962) features celebrants played by Edwin Denby, Alex Katzand Grooms seen shredding library books to make confetti.'' Other Grooms films include:The Big Sneeze (1962), a hand-drawn comic filmed by Rudy Burckhardt; Before an' After (1964), a sadomastic comedy that casts Mimi Gross as part dominatrix/part healthclub operator; Fat Feet (1966), a collaboration with Mimi Gross, Yvonne Andersen and Dominic Falcone that begins where Shoot the Moon ends; Tapping Toes (1968-70), which uses his first sculpto-pictorama City of Chicago (1967) as its set; Conquest of Libya by Italy (1912-13) (1972-3), a black and white animation that spoofs that era's newsreels; Hippodrome Hardware (1973), based on Grooms' 1972 live performance of the same name, whose main character Mr. Ruckus is played by Grooms; Grow Great (1974), a live-action short that features Mimi Gross as the household consumer; Little Red Riding Hood (1978), which features his daughter Saskia; andMan Walking Up (1984).
Today Grooms is recognized as a pioneer of site-specific sculpture and installation art. City of Chicago (1967), a room-sized, walk-through ''sculpto-pictorama,'' features sky-scraper-proportioned sculptures of Mayor Daley and Hugh Hefner ''joined by such historical figures as Abraham Lincoln, Al Capone, and fan-dancer Sally Rand, accompanied by a sound track featuring gunfire and burlesque music. Grooms's genius for rendering the intricacies of architectural ornament is vividly apparent in several three-dimensional vistas of Chicago's famous buildings. Evident here and in the numerous other cityscapes Grooms has created is his extraordinary ability to capture a sense of place with a great sensitivity to detail.'' Another sculpto-pictorama, Ruckus Manhattan (1975) exemplifies the mixed-media installations that would become his signature craft. Grooms' work has been exhibited in galleries across the United States, as well as Europe, and Japan. His art is included in the collections of thirty-nine museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art in Nashville, the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Carnegie Museum of Art, and the Knoxville Museum of Art.
In 2003, Grooms was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Academy of Design. Grooms currently lives and works in New York City in a studio in lower Manhattan at the intersection of Tribeca and Chinatown, where he has lived for around 40 years. He has one daughter, Saskia Grooms.