Our charming December 3, 2021, cover art comes to us from the talented Mimi Gross — painter, set-and-costume designer and maker of eye-catching installations.
Her work is included in many public collections at esteemed institutions including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, the Jewish Museum, Musee des Art Decoratifs in France and the Fukuoka Bank in Japan. She has also received numerous awards and grants including one from the New York State Council on the Arts and two from the National Endowment for the Arts.
Here, Gross discusses her memories of Horn & Hardart, her creative process and more.
What inspired the creation of this week’s cover art, “Horn & Hardart?”
The painting “Horn & Hardart” was painted 57 years ago; I was 23 years old. I was living just a few blocks from the 23rd street, near the 7th Avenue Horn & Hardart, an automat chain that was in many locations in the city. The food was in little cubbies and one put nickels in a slot and the window popped open. I was married, and we often ate there, and with friends — Rudy Burckhardt, Yvonne Jacquette and Edwin Denby — also living nearby. (See Edith Schloss’ just-published book, The Loft Generation, which has a section about the automat and its popularity in the ’60s.)
How was this piece created? Walk us through your process.
I made many drawings at the automat. One could sit there as long as one wanted — no one would ask you to leave. It was always full with local types, before tourism invaded. Most of my work starts with drawings from observation (actual places and people) — ink, crayons and pastels, or sometimes enlarged charcoal drawings.
What makes this artwork such an ideal fit for a Dan’s Papers cover?
I think the painting is appropriate for Dan’s Papers because it is about local people and may bring back memories for some. Especially during holiday time, as I remember, there always were “holiday specials.”
What artistic accomplishment are you most proud of?
My best accomplishment, as far as my work is concerned, is that I have continued drawing, painting, making objects, sculpture and props for dance, sets, large-scale projects — all of the time — without losing a great love for the quest and the curiosity of what’s next.
What do you find most rewarding about being an artist?
The reward is the quest itself.
Where can your work be seen in the coming weeks, both online and up close?
My work can be seen at Eric Firestone Gallery in New York City and their gallery in East Hampton.
Would you like to share any closing thoughts?
Closing thoughts: Check out my website and Google. There is a lot to be seen.
To learn more about Mimi Gross and see more of her works, visit mimigross.com.