The Art of the Shelfie: Max Steven Grossman

JoAnne Artman Gallery
Oct 6, 2021 6:47PM

The shelfie is a combination of a shelf or bookshelves, and a selfie, a picture you take of yourselves on your phone and share on social media. The goal of a shelfie is to show off various objects displayed on shelves, whether it’s books, photographs, plants, souvenirs, or the overall aesthetic of the shelves in their living or work space. Like selfies before them, shelfies have come to represent something deeper than décor; rather, it communicates one’s perceived identity. Laden with carefully chosen memories and meaningful pieces, the modern shelfie has become a stylish focal point of any room or, perhaps more recently, Zoom background.

Max Steven Grossman
ARQ 4, 2021
JoAnne Artman Gallery

Exploring the changing accessibility and value of books and photography, Max Steven Grossman’s Bookscapes series visualizes libraries that exist only in his imagination. Curated thematically through an intricate process of digital collage, Grossman builds each bookcase with photographs he has stockpiled from public and private collections, bookstores, and online. Organized by topic, Grossman often returns to his favored motifs: fashion, architecture, art, and rock and roll. With each composition offering a glimpse into the personality and tastes of the artist and his collectors, Grossman’s works epitomize of art of the shelfie, serving as a substitution for traditional portraiture.

Max Steven Grossman
ART W SQ, 2021
JoAnne Artman Gallery

Presented in large-scale formats, Grossman creates the illusion of standing before a physical library. Stacked closely and overlapping, the crowded shelves spotlight each book’s title and cover image for a perfect, archival summation of the subject matter. Encouraging an ongoing dialogue, each Bookscape is both personal and universal, depending on the viewer’s curiosity and relationship to the field of study.

Max Steven Grossman
Music MS V, 2021
JoAnne Artman Gallery

Alluding to the gradual loss of paper books, Grossman allows for the physical world to be replaced by his virtual constructions, all the while presenting a collection of printed knowledge that is within reach, but ultimately unattainable. Complex and visually arresting, Grossman’s compositions contemplate what it means to craft an identity during the digital age and the importance of appearances.


JoAnne Artman Gallery 326 + 346 N Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, CA 92651 | 511A West 22nd St. New York, NY 10011 Telephone: 949-510-5481 | E-mail: [email protected] Website: www.joanneartmangallery.com

JoAnne Artman Gallery
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