Chicago

Gladys Nilsson, Sunset Stomp, 1968, watercolor on paper, 23 x 30 1/2". From “Hairy Who? 1966–1969.”

“Hairy Who? 1966–1969”

The Art Institute of Chicago

Gladys Nilsson, Sunset Stomp, 1968, watercolor on paper, 23 x 30 1/2". From “Hairy Who? 1966–1969.”


THE STORY GOES LIKE THIS: In 1966, friends and recent School of the Art Institute of Chicago graduates Jim Falconer and Jim Nutt approached Don Baum, director of the Hyde Park Art Center, about mounting a series of small group exhibitions featuring young artists. The first of these, “Hairy Who,” comprising works by Falconer, Nutt, Art Green, Gladys Nilsson, Suellen Rocca, and, at Baum’s suggestion, Karl Wirsum, opened later that year. Swiftly embraced by local and national critics, the exhibition announced an open, nondogmatic mode of artmaking, materially polymorphous and engaged with, but not limited to, bodily distortions, wordplay, all-out fantasy, psychosexual desire, and graphic idolatry. It was both vulnerable and aggressive, and included some of the most profound investigations of consciousness and physicality of the past half century. The participating artists’ shared

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