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Red Grooms: Larger than Life

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Stephen Kobasa reviews the exhibition Red Grooms: Larger than Life at the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, on view through March 9, 2014.

Writing about Grooms' 27 foot painting Cedar Bar (1986) Kobasa notes that the "detailed remembrance of this place suggests that a verifiable reality lies beneath the commedia dell’arte riot of figures which it cannot entirely contain. Each of the four pyramids of bottles against the far wall rearrange the same identifiable brands of liquor, and every glass in the place is a set piece of illusion. The framed prints in the background of paintings by Thomas Gainsborough, George Stubbs and John James Audubon are the final irony of realism in pictorial counterpoint to the abstract tradition revealed only in the splatters of color on Pollock’s shoes and de Kooning’s pants… in all his work, Grooms makes pictures of noise like no one else, and that raucous constant is the measure of what he must call a life worth remembering."

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