Lost and Found: The Search for Harry and Edna

May 9 - August 30, 2014
Free Opening Reception: May 9, 5-8pm

Curated by Jeff Phillips

Harry and Edna on the Santa Paula

Click the image to learn the whole story behind Harry and Edna.

Harry and Edna were everyday people who lived extraordinary lives. They frequented fancy parties. They traveled the world. And they captured it all on film. Half a century later, their photographic journey continued by falling into the hands of Jeff Phillips. Phillips, a Chicago-based photographer, discovered the lives of Harry and Edna in 30 boxes filled with more than a thousand unlabeled Kodachrome slides at a second hand shop in St. Louis. An artist who has always been fascinated by found photographs, he bought them, wondering why these enigmatic family portraits were abandoned.

Edna in Orange Life JacketPhillips began sharing the vivid and kitschy images on Facebook where he asked, “Is This Your Mother?” The unknown couple is seen at a holiday party, on a tropical cruise, posing on an iceberg in Alaska and in front of famous places. The more images he shared, the more intent he became on finding the people in the pictures.

The number of visitors to the page grew quickly, and a disparate search party of amateur genealogists and online sleuths emerged. They foraged for hidden details, scouring census databases and immigration records for possible connections. Others participated by remarking about the fashions of the period, or by proposing imaginary dialog that might have occurred between the two unknown persons.

Could the social media community help restore their identities, or would they be lost forever?

Lost and Found is a unique exhibition of photography that tells the story of a social media search party attempting to discover the identities of an anonymous couple who traveled the world more than 50 years ago. This exhibition presents the beauty, humor, and mystery of found photographs and explores the intersection of photography, social media, and our places in history.

Brewed in Belgium: The Collection of MADmusée

January 17 – April 26, 2014

Untitled by Serge Delaunay

Untitled by Serge Delaunay, 1993, Felt on paper, 28.5 x 21.5 inches, ©MADmusée Collection

Intuit is excited to collaborate with the MADmusée of Liège, Belgium, in an exhibition of artwork selected from their permanent collection. MADmusée exhibits the work of developmentally disabled artists while promoting understanding and appreciation through education, conservation and documentation. Founded in 1998, MADmusée has a commitment for research and education to enrich its distinct permanent collection, exhibitions and library, and to communicate cultural sensitivity to a wider public.

MADmusée has built their collection with a unique focus on artists with disabilities who are creating in centers and workshops around the world. Their holdings currently include over 2,300 pieces comprised of paintings, drawings, sculptures, engraving, textiles and installations. Offering just a glimpse into the richness of their permanent collection, Brewed in Belgium: The Collection of MADmusée will highlight more than 60 of these exceptional artworks.

Giocartollo by Franco Bellucci

Giocartollo by Franco Bellucci, 2005, 10.5 x 16 x 14 inches, ©MADmusée Collection

In compliment to this exhibition, MADmusée has also curated a spotlight of 30 pieces culled from Intuit’s Permanent Collection. This exhibition will be on display in our Study Gallery from January 17 – May 24, 2014.

This exhibition is sponsored in part by Duvel and Wallonie-Bruxelles International.

Duvel Wallonie-Bruxelles International

It Takes a Hard Heart: The Life Work of Eddie Harris

September 13 - December 28, 2013

Curated by Laura Bickford

Eddie Harris in his garden. Photo by Cheri Eisenberg

Eddie Harris in his garden. Photo by Cheri Eisenberg

After living and working in and around Chicago’s Auburn-Gresham neighborhood for nearly fifty years, the powerful and politically-tuned work of the artist Eddie Harris will be exhibited to the public for the first time at Intuit. This exhibition will explore both the breadth and depth of Harris’ work, in media and subject matter, touching on themes including Black power, portrayals of beauty and strength, the family, and the aesthetics of activism in the form of his bas-relief sculptures, paintings and drawings, and carved and painted objects.

Largely self-taught, Harris draws from memories of picking cotton during a childhood in Arkansas to his experience with the years of rage and the Black Panthers in Chicago, using found and salvaged materials to tell his personal narrative of the very public struggle for Black empowerment. Formally strong, with a painstaking attention to craftsmanship and gesture, his entire artistic practice shows a long dedication to both the aesthetic and cultural concerns of his life across several decades and presents a private and public address of Black power and heart.

Eddie Harris maskDrawing from an uncatalogued body of work that numbers in the hundreds of pieces, this exhibition, with its selection of thirty-two works, presents a glimpse into the life and work of Harris. Speaking about his ability to carve notoriously-unwieldy pine, Harris has said, “The wood’s got to have a hard heart. You can tell if it does, and if that pine has a hard heart, using the tools I made, you can carve it.”  Following the wisdom of Harris, the exhibition highlights not only the fragility and strength, but also the empathy, anger, and inventiveness displayed by Harris to tirelessly transform his life experiences into monumental works of art.


July 12 - December 28, 2013

Co-curated by Susann Craig and Marjorie Freed

Albert “Kid” Mertz (1905-1988), a one-time prize fighter and autoworker, lived with his family in a small house in Lilley Township of Newaygo County, Michigan. Upon retirement, Mertz spent his days living off the land and creating signs often festooned with greetings, wacky sayings and comments. He used his off-beat creations to decorate his humble home and tempt passing tourists to visit his remote property.

IYAMWHATIYAM by Kid MertzMertz’s manner and appearance has been affectionately described as resembling that of a leprechaun: engaging, friendly and often mischievous. These traits are also characteristic of the work he hung along the road and stored helter-skelter in his marvelous and highly personal environment. His unique painted constructions covered with backwoods philosophy often took cues from his visitors (“IYAMWHATIYAM”) and the children who begged their parents to be taken home (“IWANNAGOHOME”).

Albert "Kid" Mertz

Albert “Kid” Mertz, Photo (c) David Kargl

Mertz’s text stands wholesomely apart from the angry rantings of Jesse Howard, the proselytizing of Howard Finster and Sister Gertrude Morgan, and the imaginary language of J.B. Murray. Amazingly, some of his work bears an uncanny resemblance to that of more acclaimed talents, particularly Picasso and Chicago’s own Karl Wirsum and Jim Nutt.

Today his images and signs remain emblematic reminders of a not too distant past, one geographically out of the mainstream and fast disappearing along with much of rural American life. Co-curated by Intuit Board Members Susann Craig and Marjorie Freed, this exhibit is the most comprehensive to date of his body of work.

2013 Teacher Fellowship Program Exhibition

June 1 - 29, 2013

Teacher Fellowship Program ExhibitionIntuit proudly presents the work of students participating in our Teacher Fellowship Program for the 2012-2013 school year. 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 ten participating Chicago Public Schools.

Schools represented in this exhibition are Orr Academy High School, Clemente Community Academy High School, Abraham Lincoln Elementary School, Nettlehorst Elementary School, Jenner Elementary Academy of the Arts, Mary Lyon Elementary School, Orozco Fine Arts and Sciences Elementary School, Franklin Fine Arts Center, Wildwood IB World Magnet School and Carl Schurz High School.