A Retrospective in Wood and Cardboard
by Kristin Nord
Both people who know and those who have not yet encountered artist James Grashow’s work are in for a treat this fall. The Center for Contemporary Printmaking (CCP) will be presenting a retrospective of Grashow’s woodcuts while underwriting the creation of one of his joyful cardboard fish menageries.
Several hundred larger-than-life aquatic creatures will be assembled, decorated and mounted on sticks during a free workshop offered by CCP, The Stepping Stones Museum and The Maritime Museum as part of the Nickelodeon’s Worldwide Day of Play on September 17. A squadron of kids and their parents will then march with these creations in “The Fish Parade,” from Mathews Park to the Norwalk Marine Aquarium, in what promises to be an aquatic blessing of the fleet, reminiscent of a medieval street festival — “the more medieval the better,” Grashow said in a recent telephone interview.
The artist was at work in his Redding, Conn. studio this summer, carving the fins, tails and heads that local families will assemble and decorate.
Grashow’s contemplative woodcuts have subtly shaped the American reader’s sensibilities since the late 1960s, with his illustrations commissioned for The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Life, Time, Esquire and New York magazines, among many others. Those of us old enough to have amassed record
collections will certainly nod with recognition at the iconic cover art he did for Jethro Tull, The Yardbirds, Ramsey Lewis and Deep Purple.