The faces are dark and disturbing, cold and chiseled. Mouths and eyes are tightly stitched shut, as if to keep the world out.
Nancy Grossman’s notorious “head” sculptures, made of wood covered in black leather, were jaw-dropping when they first appeared in the late 1960s. They were bold and extremely original in an era when figurative art was all but ignored.
Almost a half-century later, Grossman’s potent heads can give you goose bumps.
“She called them ‘her friends.’ They were her company in the studio,” said Tang Teaching Museum curator Ian Berry during a recent tour of “Tough Life Diary,” a 50-year Grossman retrospective that he came up with. “She calls them all ‘her self-portrait.’ ”