Hairy Who? 1966-1969 at the Art Institute of Chicago
by Joe Stanfield
The Art Institute of Chicago exhibition, Hairy Who? 1966-1969, opened to the public on September 26, 2018 and will run through January 6, 2019. The show contains over 200 paintings, prints, drawings, and sculptures by Jim Nutt, Karl Wirsum, Gladys Nilsson, Suellen Rocca, Art Green, and Jim Falconer, the six members of the formidable group. 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? 1966-1969 is exclusively focused on works created during a three-year period where the artists staged six exhibitions as a group: three in Chicago, one in San Francisco, one in Washington D.C., and one in New York City.
The show is broken up into two main viewing areas. The major paintings and sculpture can be seen in the Rice Wing. Many of the works in these galleries are hung in a similar fashion to how they were presented in the Hyde Park Art Center, complete with copies of linoleum that the group used as decoration behind the paintings. Prints, posters, and additional works on paper are on view on the ground floor in the Prints & Drawings galleries.
Hairy Who? 1966-1969 helps illustrate why the members of this group were recognized as important 50 years ago and why they remain so influential today. These six artists decided to show as a group for three years, but this exhibition depicts works by six very independent and individual artists who were working with many shared visual influences. Unlike most of the abstract and Pop art work that was being produced in the late 1960s in New York City, the Hairy Who set out to make paintings and sculpture that are almost exclusively figurative and often humorous, erotic, colorful, and irreverent.
If you are interested in seeing Hairy Who? 1966-1969, you can visit the Art Institute of Chicago daily through January 6, 2019 from 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and until 8:00 p.m. on Thursdays.
Our December 2, 2018 auctions included a rare painting by Hairy Who member Gladys Nilsson (Lot 54) and an etching by her husband Jim Nutt (Lot 117). The sales also included works by Chicago Imagists Ed Flood (Lot 60) and Ed Paschke (Lot 67, Lot 109, Lot 110, and Lot 111) as well as a drawing by H.C. Westermann (Lot 48), who was a great influence on both the Hairy Who and the Chicago Imagists.