You don’t need to have an s/m fetish to like the work of veteran artist Nancy Grossman—but it doesn’t hurt if you do. Her latest solo exhibition, Heads, features 14 sculptures—ferocious leather-hooded heads carved from blocks of found wood—that she made from the ’60s through the ’80s. Though Grossman is accomplished in many areas of art, it was her heads that made her a star of the art world in the 1960s, with five solo shows by the time she turned 30. Both Robert Mapplethorpe and Richard Avedon memorably photographed her masks of zippers, spikes, straps, and recycled leather (including material from boxing gloves!). Though Grossman has called these lifesize heads “self-portraits,” they are not actual depictions of her face. Instead, her deaf and mute sculptures, influenced by the liberation movements of the ’60s and the Vietnam War, continue to bear silent witness to the world’s violence.
May 30-Aug. 15, 2011
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 18, 2011