Red Grooms fills the galleries of the Hudson River Museum with Lincoln on the Hudson, a larger-than-life, walk-through scene of the historic appearance of President-elect Lincoln in Westchester County’s village of Peekskill on the banks of the Hudson. Grooms is famed for creating environments in which colorful sculptures of people navigate scenes filled with details that make us smile and want to walk through a Grooms’ world.
The artist, famous for his immersive environments, created a Lincoln work at the Museum that fills 775 square feet of gallery space and stands 17 feet high — a world constructed from foam core, canvas, and bright paint. Lincoln stands at the back of the train that crossed the country from midwest to east to take him to his 1861 inauguration and is greeted by cheering villagers, mounted soldiers (the Civil War is about to begin), a drummer boy, and a brass band. He thanks New Yorkers for their kind greeting and says, . . . I will say in a single sentence, in regard to the difficulties that lie before me and our beloved country, that if I can only be as generously and unanimously sustained as the demonstrations I have witnessed indicate I shall be, I shall not fail. . . A happy moment in time, it is underscored with concern that Lincoln expresses. Grooms crowns Lincoln with a very tall high hat, branding him the country’s leader and its hope..
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.