Gladys Nilsson with cover of Hairy Who exhibit catalog, Photo by Bill Arsenault. That silly kid joke is the text on a cocktail napkin used at a Hyde Park Art Center exhibition in
Inspired by comic-book art, sign-painting techniques and vernacular culture, each artist embraced their distinctive talents and made personal works that impart a sense of humor, usually rendered with bright hues and bizarre detail. Photograph: Courtesy the Art Institute of Chicago. Sign up here to stay in the know.
Immersive, wild, and irreverent, these shows struck a chord with the changing society and art world of the late s. Calling themselves the Hairy Who, the artists subverted the group exhibition format by drawing attention to their individual talent and skill through comic-like exhibition catalogs and promotional posters. Who is this guy?
Ruth Lopez. They created colourful, graphic work dominated by distorted, often ribald figures. Although they were active as a loose collective for only three years, they had a significant influence on younger artists in the city and the development of the Chicago Imagists.
The exhibition consists of works from the permanent collection at the Art Institute of Chicago and over 70 other museums and private collections. While the six members of the Hairy Who have produced over 50 years worth of work, Hairy Who? The show is broken up into two main viewing areas.
Then, after six exhibitions together, they broke up. Hairy Who? On the strength of these shows, the group seems to have emerged fully formed, with each member working a complementary aesthetic.
Art Institute of Chicago Hairy Who? The question mark in the title of the exhibition, Hairy Who? Organized sequentially, the shows unfolded with arrangements of work, in some cases not seen together since their original presentation.