Nancy Grossman was born in 1940 in New York, United States. Her compositions, produced from scrapheap items such as the leather from a biker’s jacket or from a pair of boots, or the wood of a telegraph pole, echo the Abstract Expressionist works that dominated the New York art scene in the 1960s. Grossman’s childhood, which she spent working with her parents in the textile industry, influenced her use of these materials and dyes as well as her use of sewing in her artistic creations. She decided to leave for Europe, and on her return two years later set up her enormous studio in Chinatown. The size of her workshop enabled her to produce large-format works and to investigate the use of new elements.
Grossman exhibited the first of her life-size heads in 1969. These works were destined to become a series that she would continue to produce until the mid-1990s. Under the sway of the work on women wearing bondage gear produced by her professor and mentor Richard Lindner, and also influenced by the liberation movements of the late 1960s and the violence of the Vietnam War, Grossman began to sculpt these leather-covered heads, equipped with dentures, zippers, straps or horns. Mute, trussed up, their eyes covered by straps, these heads are like the witnesses of the brutality and social disruptions that were happening around the artist, and despite their seeming aggressiveness they appear on the contrary to be caught in a trap.
Her work was included in the exhibition 'Untitled, 2020' (2020) at Punta della Dogana.