Red Grooms' "The Burning Building"

Artist: John Cohen (American, born 1932)

Date: 1960

Medium: Gelatin silver print

Dimensions: 18.6 x 28 cm (7 5/16 x 11 in.)

Classification: Photographs

Credit Line: Purchase, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift, through Joyce and Robert Menschel, 1997

Accession Number: 1997.503.1

Rights and Reproduction: © John Cohen


Cohen's evocative photograph shows the artist Red Grooms in performance at his Lower East Side studio, which he dubbed the Delancey Street Museum. Unlike the cacophonous multimedia Happenings being staged by colleague Allan Kaprow and others, Grooms' productions discouraged audience participation and were precisely scripted. The Burning Building grew out of a performance in Provincetown, Massachusetts, entitled A Play Called Fire, in which Grooms painted a picture before an audience for twenty-five minutes.