Elmhurst Art Museum Exhibiting Works from College’s Imagist Collection

August 28, 2018 | by the Office of Communications and Public Affairs
In Vertical Shade by Gladys Nilsson, 1984

In Vertical Shade by Gladys Nilsson, 1984

The Elmhurst Art Museum is exhibiting nearly 30 works from the internationally recognized Elmhurst College Art Collection during “The Figure and the Chicago Imagists,” which will be on view through Jan. 13, 2019.

“The Figure and the Chicago Imagists: Selections from the Elmhurst College Art Collection,” is curated by Suellen Rocca, an original member of the “Hairy Who” artists collective and the current curator and director of exhibitions at the College.

In the 1960s, Rocca and five other artists formed the groundbreaking group the Hairy Who, known for their powerfully graphic images and brazen sense of humor. This visionary group forged the way with others that later became known as the Chicago Imagists.

Rocca will give a public lecture about the College’s Art Collection on Saturday, Nov. 3, at 1:30 p.m. at the Museum. From her perspective as the collection’s curator and as a Chicago Imagist artist, she will share insight into the personality of her colleagues and their life’s work.

“The Figure and the Chicago Imagists” focuses on artists working in Chicago between about 1950 and the present. Predominantly featuring works on paper, the exhibition includes the work of Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, Ed Paschke, Christina Ramberg, Barbara Rossi and Karl Wirsum. Numerous pieces in the collection have traveled to exhibitions at major museums throughout the United States and Europe. For example, Paschke’s Cobmaster, a formidable presence in the College’s A.C. Buehler Library (where the Art Collection is housed), was recently shown in Milan at Fondazione Prada in the exhibit “Famous Artists from Chicago: 1965-75.”

Rocca and the others are an integral part of Chicagoland’s history that has influenced generations of artists.

Elmhurst Art Museum Executive Director John McKinnon

As the curator and director of exhibitions at Elmhurst College since 2006, Rocca has overseen the College’s collection of Chicago Imagist artwork. As caretaker, advocate and interpreter of the collection, Rocca has increased awareness of its importance locally, nationally and internationally. The Elmhurst Art Museum recently recognized Rocca for her outstanding service as an artist, curator, and educator in the western suburbs.

Related Programming at the Elmhurst Art Museum

Exhibition Tours

Saturday, Nov. 10, and Saturday, Dec. 1, 1:30 p.m.

Join Museum staff for an in-depth look at the current exhibition.

Symposium: “The Figure, Humor and the Chicago Imagists”

Sunday, December 16, 11:00 a.m.–3:00 p.m.

On Sunday, Dec. 16, the Elmhurst Art Museum and Elmhurst College will partner with the Terra Foundation for American Art’s Art Design Chicago initiative to present a full-day symposium on how the Imagists used humor in their depictions of the figure. The symposium features presentations on the topic, including keynote address by Grammy Award®-winning Brooklyn-based writer, editor and curator Dan Nadel, and the opportunity to view the extraordinary Elmhurst College Imagist Art Collection on view at the Elmhurst Art Museum.

“The Figure, Humor and the Chicago Imagists” is funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art. The symposium begins at Illinois Hall at Elmhurst College and later continues at the Elmhurst Art Museum. The symposium is free but registration is required.

All public programs are free with Museum admission or membership. The Elmhurst Art Museum is located at 150 Cottage Hill Ave. in Elmhurst. The museum is open Tuesday-Sunday from 11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Admission is $12 ($10 for seniors) and free for all Elmhurst College students with their Jaypass. For more information, visit the Elmhurst Art Museum website.

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