Another work of Grooms, the “Masters at the Met” lithograph, gives a clear message to art audiences; people are missing out on life if they take art too seriously. In reality, Grooms wanted viewers to relax without maintaining a serious facade. “Masters at the Met” depicts a colorful crowd of art viewers among the paintings by Paul Gauguin, Georges Seurat and others. But the headphones present in this artwork capture a viewer’s attention right away. Boundaries are broken down between the art and the real world. The audience is just as important as the paintings hung on the wall. Distortion is a reoccurring theme in this lithograph, as Grooms made the gallery room appear very crammed.
There’s so much going on;, each character is unique in dress and style, and that’s what Grooms intended for audiences to sense when looking at this piece of work. This is a caricature of New York City’s diversity, which shows that anyone can appreciate art.
Must one learn all the masterpieces by French Impressionists to understand art? No, this is a distorted misconception. Museums and galleries right now are empty, but virtual tours are being given online. Anyone could be eating an Uber Eats food delivery order in front of their computers while watching a museum’s virtual tour. People could admire art just like that, similar to the man wearing headphones and cargo shorts in “Masters at the Met” — carefree but thoughtful.
Both Grooms’ lithograph and etching can be found on the eighth floor of Baruch College’s Newman Vertical Campus, in the elevator hallway area.
These works have been purchased with funding from the State of New York. Percent for Art Program, 2003.