Nancy Grossman, American, born 1940
leather, nails, epoxy paint and wood
Gift of Howard and Jean Lipman
© Phoenix Art Museum. All rights reserved. Photo by Ken Howie.
© Nancy Grossman; Courtesy of Micheal Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York
Nancy Grossman began making leather-bound, zipped-up sculptures in the 1960s with the belief that physical objects have the power to provoke discussion. This sculpture has disquieting elements that invite debate about identity, gender, sexuality, and issues of violence. Initial responses to this work questioned the aggressively masculine appearance. Grossman replied to the responses that works like this one were self-portraits that represent her otherness or maleness. Though this object has no conclusive gender, the use of leather and the strong jaw insinuate society’s perceptions of masculinity and maleness. Her work challenges binary notions of gender identity; suggesting instead a fluidity of otherness that is both male and female.