Private Eye: The Imagist Impulse in Chicago Art

by: John Corbett, Jim Dempsey

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Private Eye: The Imagist Impulse in Chicago Art / ISBN 9781646570140 / 208-page hardcover published by the Indianapolis Museum of Art

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Brash, brilliant and funny, the Chicago Imagists―from the Hairy Who and Nonplussed Some to False Image and Marriage Chicago Style―receive a full appraisal in this electrifying volume

This amply illustrated catalog surveys the work of the group of artists known as the Chicago Imagists, who exhibited together in the late 1960s, and whose influence continues to spread 50 years later. Drawing from a collection of rarely seen works, the book presents work from the 17 artists who comprise the original Imagist exhibition groups―the Hairy Who, Nonplussed Some, False Image and Marriage Chicago Style―as well as a number of independent Chicago artists. These artists and their historic work, which is brash, brilliant and often humorous, have seen increased attention over the last decade. Scholars, collectors and younger artists have been magnetized by the paintings of Jim Nutt, Christina Ramberg, Roger Brown, Gladys Nilsson and Karl Wirsum, but there are few large-scale, high-quality books documenting their work.

In addition to a reprint of an important and little-known piece by Dennis Adrian, the book features original essays that provide a big-picture view of the vibrant Chicago art ecosystem and explore the relationship between Imagism and abstraction and between historical Imagist art and its offspring. Also included are an interview with the collectors, biographical “snapshots” of seven key artists and a timeline plotting major works in the collection against important historical events in the art world. With this comprehensive range of material, Private Eye: The Imagist Impulse in Chicago Art adds substantively to the topic’s scholarship.