How Was…Nancy Grossman’s ‘Tough Life Diary’ at the Tang?

If any of you prospective students are going to be at Skidmore in the next three months, I highly recommend you check out Nancy Grossman’s retrospective at the Tang.  There’s a lot going on — fifty years of paintings, collages, and sculptures — and it’s all wonderful to look at.  My favorite pieces were the rows of sculptural heads; Grossman has been hand-carving heads and covering them with leather since the ’60s, and each one is unique, provocative and sort of humorous at the same time.  (One head yawns energetically, its chin folding like an accordion.)  It’s all a bit “off,” in a good way.

Grossman also gave a talk before the show’s wine-‘n’-cheese opening, and she was fascinatingly tangential.  Every anecdote segued into another.  She talked about working in NYC’s Garment District and walking through the glass wall of a grocery store before recounting the time her gallerist wanted her to fork over an immense leather sculpture that she hadn’t yet completed.  Grossman had been distraught — the sculpture wasn’t ready.  “I sat down on a pile of leather jackets and asked for a bottle of Scotch,” she told us with a crackly laugh.

Check out Tough Life Diary at the Tang — it’ll be up until May 20th, at which point it’ll become a touring exhibition and visit museums across the country.  Here are some pics:

Nancy Grossman's leather heads.

The once-unfinished sculpture.

Museum-goers at the opening; I loved this outfit color combination.

More videos and pictures to come.  I had a very camera-friendly weekend.  Hint: Quidditch pictures!

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