July 9, 2013

Inside The Red Grooms’ New York City Exhibit At CMOM


The newest exhibit at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan treats little visitors to a whole new (miniature) perspective of their beloved city, featuring a local artist’s depictions of NYC life.

By Nadia Ramlakhan


Rockefeller Center (1995)

Calling all New York lovers: A new multimedia exhibit in town is giving families the chance to look at their beloved city from a whole new perspective. Red Grooms’ New York City, now open at the Children’s Museum of Manhattan (CMOM), is a collection of “sculpto-pictoramas” that depict snippets of city life in unexpected ways. With 3D miniatures, paintings, and painting-sculpture hybrids, the collection encourages kids to let their imaginations run wild, challenge what art can look like, and even become artsits themselves.

CMOM has a special knack for immersing children into every one of its projects. Even before you step into the exhibit, visitors start getting a feel for what it’s all about. Quotes from the artist about city life run across the walls. A huge MTA bus in the hallway gives kids the chance to hop in and get a taste of what it might be like to drive around the city–same for an NYC taxi cab.

Inside, families step right into the hustle and bustle of the city. Walls have been transformed into skies, lined with clouds so you’re suddenly overlooking the city on a beautiful day. To the right, you’ll find a “live” show at Wollman Rink–the pictorama features an animated ice skater; to the left, see a a long line of shoppers at the Madison Avenue Discount Store.

Red Grooms, who has lived in the city for over 50 years, was inspired by the many day-to-day activities happening all around NYC. His miniatures bring little New Yorkers whole new perspectives with impeccable attention to detail–when you “visit” Rockefeller Center, the family can look up at the towering 3D, three-foot building from a set of steps and marvel at the cross-section interiors depicted on the building sides. There’s also a recreation of Grooms’ own studio, in which much of his own paintbrushes and tools pop up out of the piece.

But the fun doesn’t stop there. 3D scenes aside, the exhibition boasts all sorts of fun extras, like blueprints and books, brought together by one theme: New York. And when you start feeling the creative itch yourself, tables in the middle of the room await kids that want to practice being little artists themselves. Grab an easel–or some cardboard, clay, and straws–and create your very own multimedia masterpiece.

To learn more about this exhibit, visit cmom.org.

  • Wollman Rink (2003)

  • Portrait of Francis Bacon (1990)

  • Sailor Kelly (1989)

  • Rockfeller Center (1995)

  • Jack Hammer Blues (2004)

  • CBGB (not on display)

  • Subway (not on display)

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