Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Red Grooms' Foxtrot Carousel

For artist Red Grooms, saddled is the operative word. The Nashville-born artist has enjoyed decades of critical and commercial success in his adopted city of New York with his cartoonish sculptural tableaux and softer-styled watercolors. But his lasting legacy may turn out to be a bunch of saddled merry-go-round figures known as the Tennessee Fox Trot Carousel, Grooms’ most ambitious art project to date. The carousel is now spinning in Riverfront Park in Nashville.

Given Grooms’ oft-professed love of the circus, the possibility that a working carnival ride could become his signature work is not exactly surprising. Indeed, when the project was proposed in 1993, a lot of people assumed Grooms’ style and the merry-go-round motif would go together like, well, Monet and lily pads. But others questioned the fit of a Grooms piece of public art in downtown Nashville. After all, Grooms three-dimensional works can border on the garish and even grotesque.

Fuel was added to the fire when the artist proposed a carousel figure of Minnie Pearl depicting the late comedienne and civic leader in a bent-over position that can best be described as rude. Minnie’s estate gave it a swift thumbs-down and Grooms went back to his sketch pad and came up with an image of country crooner Kitty Wells figure-heading a tour bus instead.

Read the entire article HERE.

Carousel of Time from NPT tells the story of the artist and carousel on video.

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