Welcome to the World of Mr. Imagination

January 9 - May 25, 2015

Curated by Martha Henry

Mr I Paintbrush Head

Untitled (portrait paint brush head), Collection of Intuit, Gift of Dorianne and John Venator, 2010.9.2

Intuit is proud to announce the first Chicago retrospective for Mr. Imagination (Gregory Warmack, 1948-2012), a celebrated artist whose career spanned more than thirty years.

The third of nine children, Warmack was born in Chicago in 1948. Growing up on Chicago’s Southside, he spent his free time in his early years making jewelry, decorative objects and other small works from found objects for spending money. In 1978, he was mugged, shot and left to die. During his recovery he had an out of body experience that led him to dedicate himself to a new regenerative art for the people and began to call himself “Mr. Imagination.”

In the mid 1980s he had the first of many exhibitions at Carl Hammer Gallery in Chicago, IL, which lead to a series of exhibitions and commissions, including several House of Blues venues. Mr. Imagination quickly became a nationally recognized public artist. Following the death of his brother in 1997, Warmack moved in 2001 to Bethlehem, PA, where he continued to produce. In 2008, while he was working on a commission in Florida, Warmack’s home, gallery, collections and art studio were gutted by a fire. Following the fire, Warmack relocated to northwest Atlanta, GA. In his process to heal from the loss of his home and art, he began to incorporate the surviving burned pieces into new sculptures. Mr. Imagination passed away in May of 2012. READ MORE »

Intuit’s 2014-15 Teacher Fellowship Program Student Art Exhibition

May 16 - July 2, 2015

TFP Student Art Exhibition Postcard

Intuit presents an exhibition showcasing student participants in Intuit’s 2014-2015 Teacher Fellowship Program. Inspired by self-taught and outsider art, students transform found and non-traditional materials to reflect their own visions. Teachers and students represented in the exhibition are from 11 participating Chicago Public Schools, including: Chicago Vocational Career Academy High School, Columbus Elementary School, John W. Garvy Elementary, Lincoln Park High School, Henry Lloyd Elementary, Jose Clemente Orozco Academy, Nettelhorst Elementary School, New Sullivan Elementary, Suder Montessori, Vaughn Occupational High School and Thomas J. Waters Elementary.

Intuit’s Teacher Fellowship Program is sponsored in part by generous grants from Crown Family Philanthropies, Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust, Polk Bros Foundation and Terra Foundation for American Art.

The Intuit Collection

June 19 - September 4, 2015

Intuit began collecting and preserving art from outsiders and self taught visionaries in 2007. Each year Intuit generously receives donations of work that strengthen the representative capabilities of its permanent collection. This exhibition showcases some recent gifts, promised gifts and strong works that have rarely been displayed.


July 10 - September 26, 2015

Curated by Leonard Cicero and Heather J. Holbus

Untitled (Woman in Red & Yellow), Tempera on cardboard, 22 x 16 inches, Collection of Intuit, Gift of the Zakoian Family, 2007.5.45


Intuit is proud to present works from self-taught Armenian American artist Betty Zakoian. Betty was a survivor, a woman of strong will and character, a faithfully religious mother and artist.  This exhibition explores the many layers of her story, as witnessed in Zakoian’s autobiographical artworks, to understand the story behind the paintings, to discover the truth of a forgotten or covered up history.


September 11, 2015 - January 3, 2016

Curated by Jan Petry

Caroline Demangel
, Untitled, Mixed media on paper
 25 x 19 inches, Courtesy of Cavin-Morris Gallery, Photograph by Jurate Veceraite.


A line in the sand, a scratch on rock, a mark on parchment – drawing is the most basic of artistic expression, be it primitive or refined. Self-taught artists, working independently of the art world canon for generations, have visualized their world with pencil, pen and brush.

dRAW focuses on important works from generations past: Martin Ramirez, Henry Darger, August Walla, and Friedrich Schoder-Sonnentstern and more expansively on the new generation of self-taught artists whose work remains authentic and visionary while representative of contemporary times: Chris Hipkiss, Lubos Plny, Dan Miller, Daniel Martin Diaz, George Widener, Genievieve Seille, and Günter Schützenhöfer among others.

Mad as Hell: The Collages of Richard Saholt

October 2, 2015 - January 3, 2016

Curated by Michael Bonesteel

The collages of World War II veteran Richard Saholt (1924-2014) of Minneapolis go on display at Intuit in October. Saholt achieved a modest kind of fame in the 1990s and early 21st century for creating large-format collages that combined lurid commercial illustrations with powerful words and phrases appropriated from printed magazine and newspaper headlines. Although most of his works are untitled, they are all marked by key phrases such as “Wild Hell Assault Company,” “My Life 30 Years Later, Memories of War Remain,” “Attack, The Blood Bath,” “Night Never Ending,” and “Stress, Sanity and Survival.”

Traumatized as a child by his sadistic father, the already psychologically damaged young man enlisted in the US Army’s elite Tenth Mountain Ski Troop Division and earned a Bronze Star for bravery, but he returned home with post traumatic stress disorder and was subsequently diagnosed with chronic undifferentiated schizophrenia. When the Veterans’ Administration refused to recognize and assist Saholt with the mounting physical and mental problems that he felt were exacerbated by his combat experiences, his anger and frustration increased.

He finally turned to expressing himself by collaging text and pictures in obsessively composed compositions that shrieked of the terror of war and the horror of mental illness. As Saholt poured out his rage into these passionate works of art, the viewer finds respite only by focusing on their intricate lyrical beauty. In this respect, such works fit in with some of the most extreme forms of traditional art brut.

In addition to the above subjects, Saholt devoted a number of collages to famous celebrity figures such as Prince Charles and Lady Diana, Anwar Sadat, Pope Paul II, Natalie Wood, John Belushi and John Wayne Gacy, as well as socially and politically charged topics like gun control, cigarette smoking, child abduction and Watergate. On several occasions, the artist took to collaging folders inside and out, and filling them with numerous sheets of smaller collage works. In one instance, he collaged nearly every page of a psychology textbook with images and autobiographical writings, titling it: “The Richard Saholt Story.”

Upon his death, Saholt bequeathed outsider art historian and author Michael Bonesteel a sizable number of his collages, and it from this collection that Bonesteel has selected the work in this show.

Celebrate Memorial Day at Intuit

May 25, 2015
12-5 p.m.

Free and open to the public

This will be the last day to view “Welcome to the World of Mr. Imagination” before it closes!

Blue Star Museums Program

May 25 - September 7, 2015

Intuit offers free admission to active duty military personnel and their families from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Closet Clearance Sale

June 6, 2015
11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Free and open to the public

Intuit’s Annual Sale of new and gently used women’s clothing, shoes, jewelry, and accessories donated from some of Chicago’s best closets.