“HAIRY WHO? 1966–1969”

The Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Avenue
September 27, 2018–January 6, 2019

Curated by Mark Pascale and Thea Liberty Nichols with Ann Goldstein

The Hairy Who, a self-styled group of six graduates from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago—Jim Falconer, Art Green, Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, Suellen Rocca, and Karl Wirsum—mounted six exhibitions between 1966 and 1969 (three in Chicago and one each in San Francisco, New York, and Washington, DC). These were highly sophisticated, skilled, and stubbornly independent artists who prioritized language building and imaginative invention to produce primarily figurative work that delved into sex, ecstatic states, class structures, and the absurd. This exhibition features 220 pieces, encompassing paintings, drawings, sculptures, and ephemera, and is the first survey to focus solely on the group. Sadly, the show is not traveling, but it should be seen in person. Reproductions inevitably foreground the works’ graphic nature at the expense of their delicate, finely painted surfaces and complex arrangements. The catalogue presents both the first complete list of objects in each of those six now-legendary exhibitions and numerous works in reproduction for the first time. It will provide another crucial platform for future scholarship about this hugely influential and still-vital group of artists.