With his idiosyncratic Pop-like vernacular, Red Grooms has been prolific in several mediums, including painting, printmaking, film, and installations. Regardless of format, his works often take the tumult of contemporary urban life in America as their subject, considering the nation’s history. After studying under Hans Hoffman in 1957, Grooms co-founded City Gallery in midtown Manhattan. That gallery gave early solo shows to Claes Oldenburg, Alex Katz, Jim Dine, and Mimi Gross, among others, and organized some of the first Happenings. But Grooms is best known for his scenic, large-scale installations—what he describes as his "sculpto-pictoramas." Those images of everyday life, rendered in a cartoonish, painterly fashion, are exacting and immersive, as in Grooms's 1975 installation Ruckus Manhattan. In the wobbly and detailed representations of taxis, commuters, tenements, and laborers, each character is given his or her own unique humanity.
Grooms has been widely influential for generations of subsequent artists. He has exhibited internationally, including shows at the Whitney and the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, and at the Venice Biennale.