The first major exhibition in nearly 40 years of work by a 1960s-70s art collective known as the Chicago Imagists opened at the Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art in New Cross on 15 March 2019.
The new exhibition, How Chicago! Imagists 1960s & 70s, brings together paintings, objects, drawings and prints by 14 artists whose work is rarely shown outside the US. It gives UK audiences a unique opportunity to enjoy their humorous, ridiculous, and occasionally grotesque or risqué works.
The show runs at Goldsmiths CCA until 26 May 2019 before moving on to the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea from 15 June.
Many members of the Chicago Imagists studied at the School of Art Institute of Chicago in the 1960s, and were united through their shared enthusiasm for Surrealism, comic books, advertising art, vibrant colour, puns and provocative humour. There were a significant number of prominent female artists among the group, setting them apart from their contemporaries as a movement.
In 1966, Gladys Nilsson, Suellen Rocca, Art Green, Jim Nutt, Jim Falconer and Karl Wirsum exhibited together under the name of the Hairy Who, while remaining affiliated with Chicago Imagism. They went on to mount further unconventional displays of their bright, bold, graphic, work during a period of significant change and upheaval in American culture.
Director of Goldsmiths CCA, Sarah McCrory, said: “We’ve approached this exhibition as real fans of the artists. Their incredible, influential, work has rarely travelled to the UK, and this will be its only London exhibition this year. It is a completely unique show and an exciting moment for Goldsmiths CCA and our commitment to bringing works of huge historical significance to New Cross.
"We hope the vibrancy, humour and inventiveness of the Chicago Imagists can provide inspiration for both emerging artists and the public alike.”
Goldsmiths CCA will host a series of public events alongside the exhibition, including a creative workshop for kids aged 4-12 with artist Ben Connors on Saturday 23 March; an evening screening of 2014 documentary Hairy Who & The Chicago Imagists on Thursday 4 April; and a ‘collective listening’ session about the Imagists and their work with poet Haseeb Iqbal and Lecturer in Popular Music Rose Dagul on Thursday 11 April.
All events are free but booking is required via goldsmithscca.art/events
How Chicago! Imagists 1960s & 70s is co-curated by Sarah McCrory and Rosie Cooper, organised by Hayward Gallery Touring at the Southbank Centre, and supported by the Terra Foundation for American Art.
Visit goldsmithscca.art for full exhibition information and event booking