Elvis Presley

Red Grooms (born 1937)
Lithograph, 1987

National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
© 2010 Red Grooms / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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Red Grooms, like fellow Tennessean William Eggleston (whose work is also featured in the exhibition), has often memorialized Elvis in his art.

In this image, he arms Elvis with his trademark flashy apparel and accompanying guitar, but a slightly closer observation will yield several other components of Elvis’s iconographic ensemble—the lip curl, the slick, combed-back hair, the omnipresent Cadillac, Graceland, and the stylized stage posture. One of the famous gates of Graceland is swung open behind the entertainer while a woman in a red dress and black high heels observes the singer from the porch of the mansion.

Grooms is to American art as Mark Twain is to American writing; he is the foremost humorist in his discipline. He is also a prolific artist who works in many media.

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