We know very little of C.T. McClusky’s biography except that he worked as a circus clown and spent some of his off seasons rooming at a boarding house in Oakland, California. It was there that he created a suitcase full of collages, populated with images cut from Life magazines and newspapers, that depicted daily life in a circus setting. Many of McClusky’s collages center around themes of travel, isolation and the circus as an extended family. He worked on shirt cardboard and in addition to photographic illustrations, used foil, crayon, string and cuttings from animal crackers boxes to bring his evocative images to life.
C.T. McClusky died in the mid 70′s and his work was discovered by John Turner at the Alameda Penny Market in California, where it was presented for sale by the daughter of McClusky’s landlady. The Circus Collages of C.T. McClusky is the first solo exhibition of McClusky’s work in Chicago.