Teeming with street life and urban signage, Red Groom's Walking the Dogs, is a brash vignette of the bold colors and noises of New York City life. Full of theatrical spectacle with a cinematic element found in the impeccable staging and the frenetic movement of the feet of the Scottish terriers recalls Grooms' filmic happenings in the late 1950s, as well as the Rudy Burckhardt movies in which he was an actor.
Grooms refused to be contained by style, medium, subject matter, or membership to any particular art movement. For Grooms, coming to New York from Tennessee exposed him to a new chaotic way of life. "Coming to New York, everything was junked up, jangled up. The 'bad taste' of the place-no one pays any attention to making things look attractive. All that has influenced my work," Grooms explains. "But what I wanted to do was a novelistic portrait of Manhattan from Battery Park to Grant's tomb. I also felt it had to include the dark sides of life as well as the lighter ones: prostitutes, thieves, and gamblers, tourists, shoppers, babies, moms and dads. I wanted to get it all in" (R. Grooms, quoted in T. Hyman, Red Grooms, New York, 2004, p. 104). Grooms did just that with his ionic "Ruckus Manhattan" which was displayed in Grand Central Terminal in 1975-76. It was a sprawling love letter to Manhattan which chronicled Manhattan's street life, every neighborhood and district. Walking the Dogs captures two essential elements of New York in one view, the famous Eileen's Special Cheesecake and walking your dogs- there is nothing more defining about New York City.