Palimpsest

July 10 - September 26, 2015
Opening Reception July 10, 5:30-8:30 p.m.

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

Dating back to the 5th century, pages of manuscripts were often reused by scraping away the text from a page before using it again to create a new document. These palimpsests often left faint traces of earlier writings. Occasionally, multiple layers of phantom text could be seen, leaving visual reminders of what had once been but was now transformed.

Badaskhan “Betty” Zakoian, a self-taught Armenian artist, documented the extraordinary trials and triumphs of her life through art. Born Badaskhan Ermoyan in 1908, Betty’s story is marked by the Armenian Genocide of 1915, which the Turkish government does not acknowledge to this day. Between 1915 and 1923, over one million Armenians were killed in the first genocide of the twentieth century. Zakoian’s parents were victims. Betty and her brothers were slated for evacuation by train but following a bathroom break, the train departed, leaving Betty completely on her own. Just seven years old, she walked along the train tracks until she arrived in Greece. Taken in by an orphanage run by American missionaries, she stayed there for ten years. Eventually, Betty found work as a domestic and relocated to Alexandria, Egypt, where she worked for four years before joining her half-brother in France. Following an arranged marriage to Mgrditch (Mike) Zakoian, Betty and her growing family immigrated to Chicago in 1937.

In the late 1950s, with her four children grown, Betty began to chronicle her past journeys and memories through art. She illustrated the harassment she faced at the hands of the Turks, the wild dogs she had to compete with for food, and the long walk from Armenia to Greece.

In presenting Palimpsest, the curators strive to tell the untold story of a remarkable outsider artist who persevered in the wake of tragedy and upheaval to live a full and meaningful life. Zakoian’s paintings function as a visual diary, chronicling the events of her past in a manner that reveals a desire to express her personal understanding of identity and experience.

Intuit is grateful to the Thomas McCormick Gallery and the Zakoian family for their generous gift of Betty’s work to Intuit’s permanent collection.

*Intuit thanks Revolution Brewing and The Frame Shop for their generous support of this exhibition.

EXPOSED!!
The Intuit Collection

June 19 - September 4, 2015

Simon Sparrow, Untitled (Assemblage), Collection of Intuit, Gift of Lael and Eugenie Johnson, 2006.1

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, including works by Reverend Howard Finster, Wesley Willis, Mose Tolliver, William Hawkins, Eugene Von Bruenchenhein, Derek Webster and many others.

2015-16 Teacher Fellowship Program Application Deadline Extended

Applications for Intuit’s award-winning Teacher Fellowship Program are now due August 1!

Indiegogo Campaign to Restore Henry Darger’s Maps

Now through September 10, 2015

Donate to conserve Henry Darger’s maps and help bring them home to Intuit!

Envisioning Howard Finster with Norman Girardot

August 8, 2015
1-2:30 p.m.

$5 suggested donation

Join us for a reading, discussion, and book signing with Norman Girardot, author of “Envisioning Howard Finster: The Religion and Art of a Stranger from Another World”.