Chicago Imagists

by: MMoCA

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Chicago Imagists / 168-page hardcover / Published by MMoCA / ISBN 9780913883365

The production is really good on this one -- the colors are super vibrant.

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In the 1960s, Chicago was the second largest city in the United States and the site of cultural and political upheaval—including the protests surrounding the 1968 Democratic convention. Despite this turmoil— or perhaps because of it—Chicago forged its own artistic brand with the emergence of the Chicago Imagists. Drawing inspiration from the everyday world, comic books, popular culture, pornography, Surrealism, and non-western art, these young artists, in a series of exhibitions at the Hyde Park Art Center, created energetic, figurative paintings with vibrant colors that were titled with humorous puns.

Chicago Imagists includes six essays and an extensive chronology and provides critical analysis of the arresting, but sometimes overlooked, work of Roger Brown, Sarah Canright, James Falconer, Ed Flood, Art Green, Philip Hanson, Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, Ed Paschke, Christina Ramberg, Suellen Rocca, Barbara Rossi, and Karl Wirsum. In this volume Madison Museum of Contemporary Art curator of collections, Richard H. Axsom draws strong corollaries between the coastal movements of Pop art and this younger, Midwestern version. Curator Lynne Warren traces the origin of the term “Chicago Imagists,” and in a second essay delves into sexually-charged humor of these works, paying close attention to their titles. MMoCA director Stephen Fleischman discusses the forward-thinking collectors, critics, curators, and dealers who championed this work before it was recognized on a national level. MMoCA curator Jane Simon finds reflections of the political, social, and cultural transformation of the 1960s in the work of the Imagists. Over a third of the Imagists were women, and feminist scholar Cécile Whiting examines how these women artists rethought femininity. This volume is essential for anyone interested in drawing, painting, prints, sculpture, and American art.