Intuit examines race in latest exhibition Henry Darger's Orphans and the Construction of Race

CHICAGO, IL--Discover a different side of Henry Darger. Intuit's latest exhibition, Henry Darger's Orphans and the Construction of Race, curated by Jaimy Magdalena Mann, centers on Darger's late collages, which include photographic reproductions of Asian "war-orphans" in Korea and Vietnam. The collages offer an anguished reflection on the complicated aftermath of war as well as representations of race and ethnicity. The exhibition also tells of Darger's thwarted real-life attempts to adopt a child, and his own victimization as an orphan. 

In addition to Darger's collages incorporating Asian children the exhibition includes personal documents about his desire to adopt, Catholic ephemera focusing on adoption, white orphans in comics, and a variety of source material from coloring books, advertisements, and newspapers depicting Asian and Native American children, and people of color. Darger's collection of source material and his reappropriation of those images into the collages provides an understanding of society's views on race, class, gender and commodification during the mid-20th century.

Henry Darger's Orphans and the Construction of Race opens Friday, July 14 and is on view through January 8, 2018. The exhibit opening reception will take place July 14 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Curator Jaimy Magdalena Mann will present a gallery talk at 5:30 p.m.

Special thanks to the American Folk Art Museum, New York, for its generous loans of Henry Darger artworks and archives.

The Henry Darger Room is open and on view all year at Intuit with guided tours available. 

Image: Henry Darger (American, 1892-1973). Untitled ("In Times Like These..."), n.d. Page of coloring book, newspaper clippings, and other paper clippings on advertising cardboard, 14 x 20 in. Collection American Folk Art Museum, New York, 102.5. © 2017 Kiyoko Lerner / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, Photo credit: Gavin Ashworth, © American Folk Art Museum/Art Resource, NY

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Established in 1991, Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art is one of the premier museums of outsider and self-taught art in the world--with world class exhibitions; resources for scholars and students; a permanent collection of more than 1,200 works of art; the Henry Darger Room Collection; the Robert A. Roth Study Center, a non-circulating collection with a primary focus in the fields of outsider and contemporary self-taught art; and educational programming for people of all interest levels and backgrounds.

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