In 1940, at the tail end of the Depression, Russell Lee, a photographer working for the Farm Security Administration, documented a small community of homesteaders in Pie Town, New Mexico. Seventy years later, Grossman appropriated and reworked these images to fashion an alternative Pie Town—one inhabited exclusively by women. Using Adobe Photoshop software (which she considers her primary medium), she altered the features of men to make them appear more effeminate, modified the placement and body language of pairs of women to suggest a sense of intimacy, and erased some male figures altogether. Just as Lee’s original photographs offered an idealized view of Western agrarian life, Grossman’s imaginative revision is intended as a lighthearted form of propaganda—a utopian fantasy in which gender roles are fluid and the traditional idea of family is redefined.
Inscription: Signed and inscribed in pencil, verso BL to BC: "Ruth Leonard... 2010/2011 My Pie Town portfolio 1/5 Debbie Grossman"
the artist, 2011; [Julie Saul Gallery, New York, 2011]
Julie Saul Gallery. "My PIe Town," April 14, 2011–May 21, 2011.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "After Photoshop," September 25, 2012–May 27, 2013.
Grossman, Debbie. My Pie Town. 1st ed. New York: Julie Saul Gallery, 2011. p. 13.