Born Charles Rogers Grooms in 1937 in Nashville, Tennessee, he was nicknamed Red in 1959 for his red hair color. He studied at the Art Institute of Chicago, then at Peabody College in his hometown. In 1956, Grooms relocated to New York City to continue his studies at the New School for Social Research and has lived there since.
Red Grooms is a multi-media artist best known for his witty commentaries on modern life and his affectionate yet satirical portrayals of urban culture. He is most famously known for his room sized “sculpto-pictoramas”, which are walk-through, sculpted environments. His sculpto-pictoramas include City of Chicago (1967), which features sculptures of Mayor Daley, Hugh Hefner, Abraham Lincoln and Al Capone all accompanied by the sound of gunfire and burlesque music and Ruckus Manhattan (1976-77) a re-creation of New York City that was seen by over 100,000 viewers at Marlborough Gallery in the spring/summer of 1976.
Throughout the late 1980s and the mid 1990s Grooms devoted himself to a series of prints and three-dimensional works called New York stories for which he is well known and admired. Deeply rooted in American culture, Grooms’ work conveys a sense of humor and an appreciation for universally understood human nature.
Grooms' work has been exhibited in galleries across the United States, Europe, and Japan. His art is included in the collections of thirty-nine museums, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Nashville’s Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art. In 2003, Grooms was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the National Academy of Design.