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Byline: Dottie Ashley
PHOTOS:photos provided not archived;please see pdf
Imagine the head of famous surrealist painter Salvador Dali emerging from a bed of lettuce.
This is just one of the wild and sometimes irreverent pieces in the new exhibition "The Human Comedy: Portraits by Red Grooms" opening Friday at the Gibbes Museum of Art.
Relying on famous photographers and famous anecdotes, Grooms portrays other artists as cultural icons rather than master artists. He is said to reconcile the boundaries separating the sophistication of high art with the naivete of low art, while adding the caricature qualities of a cartoonist. For example, in complex three-dimensional prints such as "Dali Salad (1980)," he conveys the outrageous public persona of Dali by showing his head emerging from a bed of lettuce.
"This was intended to present Dali as 'overripe' with bulging eyes of Ping-Pong balls," says Isabelle Dervaux of the National Gallery of Design, guest curator of the show organized with the full participation of Grooms.
The extensive exhibit features a body of Grooms' artwork, including 75 paintings, sculptures and works on paper ranging from intimate sketches of friends and family to large, three-dimensional dioramas of cultural figures such as Mae West, Jesse Helms and Pablo Picasso.
While his most biting caricatures are said to remain devoid of satire, one exception is his painting "Call for Jesse," a 1991 portrait of Jesse Helms. …