Unleash Your Inner Artist with Grossman Contest

Robert Grossman in his studio in 1968.   Photo Credit: Jan Welt via Midwood Alumni Association

Robert Grossman in his studio in 1968.

Photo Credit: Jan Welt via Midwood Alumni Association

By SHARON WONG 

Unleash your inner artist by participating in Midwood’s new artwork contest: The Robert Grossman Award for Achievement in the Visual Arts. The deadline is May 15.

The award was created by Midwood alumni from the class of ’57 through the Alumni Association to honor Robert Grossman, a celebrated visual artist and Midwood High School alumnus who passed away in 2018.

The contest is open to graduating seniors only, and the winner will receive a cash prize at graduation.

To enter the contest, students may submit  up to three original pieces of artwork showing  originality, talent, and imagination. All work must include titles, dimensions, and medium, and should be submitted to Dr. Ernest Pysher in room A109 by May 15.

The winner of the contest will be judged by the Grossman family, Dr. Pysher, Ms. Elizabeth Bouiss, and Ms. Fern Bren. 

“Bob [Grossman] was a very loyal person, especially to Midwood,” said Nancy Dunetz, a friend of Grossman’s since kindergarten. 

Grossman was Editor-In-Chief of Epilog, male leader of Arista, Art Commissioner, Fifth Term President, an editor of the SING! booklet, a member of mixed chorus, and more, Dunetz said. As an alumnus, he attended every reunion and designed the poster for our 55th reunion. 

“When Midwood called,” Dunetz said, “he never said ‘no.’”

Grossman was a sculptor, painter, filmmaker, and author. However, he was best known as a caricaturist with a professional career that spanned 50 years. Caricature is a type of art that uses exaggerations of a person’s physical characteristics to create a comical representation. 

Mr. Grossman’s work has been featured on numerous covers of national publications including The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and The Nation. Grossman’s humorous and eye-catching artwork mostly concentrates on politicians, society, and celebrities.

One of his most well-known pieces is the poster for the film Airplane!, showing a plane comically tied in a knot. Another famous piece of Grossman’s is a drawing of President Richard Nixon with an extremely long, Pinocchio-esque nose, staring straight at his national security advisor, Henry Kissinger, who is drawn very small, a Jiminy Cricket on top of Nixon’s long nose.  

Jamie Serrano ’20 said, “The art is very vibrant, caricatured, and retro. Each piece he created really captures the political essence of what was going on at the time.”

Steven Heller, a co-chairman of the MFA design department at the School of Visual Arts, told the Washington Post: “What Bob did was create a style that just jumped off the page.”

 Dunetz said, “He encourages people to take everything with a grain of salt and to think for themselves. It is our intent for Bob to serve as an inspiration to students to follow their passions and expand their horizons in exploring the versatility of the arts, and also to contribute their best to Midwood.”

Submit your entries for the Robert Grossman Award for Achievement in the Visual Arts to Dr. Pysher in A109 by May 15.

FeaturesCasey Levinson