Bobby Grossman arrived on the New York scene in the mid-seventies with a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design. His first job was assisting Richard Bernstein, the artist known for his covers of Andy Warhol’s Interview. Bernstein’s studio was at the Chelsea Hotel, ground zero for the punk explosion, and the hotel became Grossman’s home. In addition to assisting, Grossman worked as a magazine illustrator, but he became more interested in photographing the scenes he encountered at the Chelsea, at Warhol’s Factory, and C.B.G.B.’s. His ability to get inside scenes and befriend his subjects, and his punky photographic style made his pictures popular with a host of publications – Rolling Stone, Interview, Artforum, The New York Times, Soho Weekly News, The VIllage Voice and many more. His photos were picked up by clients as diverse as MTV and Vogue. He also created promotional pictures for his artist friends, including Blondie, Iggy Pop, David Bowie, The Ramones, Robert Fripp and Talking Heads (for whom he shot the cover of Psycho Killer.)
Grossman was on the scene at the punk clubs and Glenn O’ Brien’s TV Party, the weekly cable show David Letterman called “The greatest show ever” where he was the official photographer. In 1981, Grossman was featured in the seminal “New York/New Wave” exhibition curated by Diego Cortez at P.S. 1 Institute for the Arts and Colab’s legendary “Time Square Show.” Since then he has exhibited his work in museums and galleries around the world. In 1994, he exhibited in “Beat Art” at the Grey Gallery at New York University.
In 1996-1997 Bobby Grossman and Roberta Bayley curated the traveling photo exhibition “The Cool and the Crazy – Images of Punk” which included over 40 photographers including Robert Mapplethorpe, Gerard Malanga and Andy Warhol.
In 2000, Grossman collaborated on the book “New York Beat” that documents the film “Downtown 81”, starring Jean-Michel Basquiat. (Grossman made a cameo appearance in that film.)
His photographs have appeared in numerous biographies, including those of Andy Warhol, William S. Burroughs, Lou Reed, Blondie and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Recently his photographs illustrated the annual report of the Warhol Foundation, and the catalogs of the “East Village USA” show at The New Museum and “Basquiat” at The Brooklyn Museum. His photos are featured in the documentary film “TV Party” which debuted at the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival, and in the TV Party DVD series released by Brink Films.
In 2006-2009 Grossman was part of the group exhibition – “Bande a part: New York Underground 60s 70s 80s.” The show sponsored by Anges b. opened in Paris and then traveled to London, Los Angeles, Portland, Tokyo, Hong Kong and NYC. Grossman’s “Andy Warhol Corn Flakes” photograph was used as a billboard overlooking Beverly Hills to promote the exhibition. The catalog/book for “Bande a part” is available in the United States by Gingko Press.
He is currently living in Palm Beach, Florida and working on a book of his photographs.
Glenn O’Brien wrote of Bobby Grossman: “Bobby’s great pictures are a natural outgrowth of his delightful personality. People wanted to give Bobby good pictures because they liked him. He was more than a fly on the wall, he was a fly in the ointment, right in the middle of where the action was. He shot so much film that people asked if there was really film in the camera. I think Bobby’s pictures have a very special intimacy about them because he was one of the gang. He was in the car, on the stage, under the table. Some people played guitars, some sang. Bobby took pictures. But he was 100% punk.