Henry Darger: Source Materials

Collection of Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, Henry Darger Room Collection, HDRC80a

Collection of Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, Henry Darger Room Collection, HDRC80a

March 2-July 23, 2017
Curated by Alison Amick


Henry Darger was a native Chicagoan who spent part of his youth consigned to an "Asylum for Feeble-Minded Children" in Lincoln, Ill. As a young adult, he returned to Chicago, where he got a job as a janitor and lived a mostly-reclusive life in a one-room apartment in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Upon his death, Darger's landlords discovered something incredible: a striking 15,000-page graphic novel entitled In the Realms of the Unreal. The story chronicles the seven Vivian Girls, who lead a bloody rebellion against the child slavery of the evil Glandolinean Army. In spring 2000, Intuit took possession of the contents of Darger’s living and working space, which was installed as a permanent exhibition in 2008. Intuit’s Henry Darger Room Collection includes tracings, clippings from newspapers, magazines, comic books, cartoons, children’s books, personal documents, and architectural elements, fixtures, and furnishings from Darger’s original room. 

In 2017, Intuit celebrates the 125th anniversary of Henry Darger’s birth with Chicago’s Henry Darger, a yearlong series of exhibitions and programming. From its extensive collection of Darger’s source materials, Intuit has selected examples to highlight, some of which are on permanent view as part of the Henry Darger Room Collection. The use of source materials was central to Darger’s process. He carefully selected and traced images (from sources such as the coloring book pages on view)and reconfigured them to create new compositions: horns from a ram appear on his fantastical blengins, while images of young girls playing and engaging in daily activities become inspiration for the Vivian Girls and children in his narratives. The imaginative world of Wizard of Oz author L. Frank Baum, Darger’s Roman Catholic faith, the weather, and the battle scenes and regalia of the American Civil War count among the artist’s diverse influences. Compare the source materials on view in this gallery with the original art work by Darger in the nearby exhibitions.

Visit the following link to read coverage of this exhibition:
The Huffington Post


Teacher Fellowship Program Student Exhibition

Postcard design by Sandra Mars

Postcard design by Sandra Mars

June 3-July 4, 2017
Curated by Joel Javier and Melissa Smith
 

Intuit's Teacher Fellowship Program Student Exhibition will showcase participants in the 2016-2017 Teacher Fellowship Program. Inspired by self-taught and outsider art, students transform found and non-traditional materials into art pieces that reflect their personal visions. Join us for a free, family-friendly opening reception on June 10.

The Teacher Fellowship Program is Intuit's award-winning professional development program for teachers from Chicago Public Schools that reaches more than 600 students across Chicago annually. The core value of the program is enabling teachers to give their students an opportunity to translate their personal vision to art-making using non-traditional materials in a non-judgmental environment: Each person has creative potential. By participating in the program, teachers collaborate with colleagues on a lesson plan to help their students integrate the characteristics of outsider art into cross-disciplinary arts learning. Intuit's Teacher Fellowship Program is sponsored in part by generous grants from Crown Family Philanthropies, Polk Bros Foundation, Terra Foundation for American Art, Alphawood Foundation, and Driehaus Foundation.

The 18 teachers whose students will be represented in the exhibition are from nine participating Chicago Public Schools, including: Alexander Graham Bell Elementary School, John W. Garvy Elementary School, Morton School of Excellence, John Marshall Metropolitan High School, Ogden International School, José Clemente Orozco Community Academy, Vaughn Occupational High School, Thomas J. Waters Elementary School, and Wildwood IB World Magnet School.


Adolf Wölfli (Swiss, 1864-1930). Untitled, 1928. Graphite and colored pencil on paper, 13 x 18 ½ in. Collection of Audrey B. Heckler. Photo by Visko Hatfield

Adolf Wölfli (Swiss, 1864-1930). Untitled, 1928. Graphite and colored pencil on paper, 13 x 18 ½ in. Collection of Audrey B. Heckler. Photo by Visko Hatfield

Unreal Realms

January 20-March 26, 2017
Curated by Jan Petry and David Syrek


As a jumping-off point, Unreal Realms takes the world Henry Darger imagined in his Tolkien-esque novel, In the Realms of the Unreal, and provides a view into the otherworldly places created in the artworks of Adolf Wölfli, A. G. Rizzoli, Charles A. A. Dellschau, Ken Grimes and Darger. The nature of these works, which often are described as “visionary,” call attention to their makers’ sensibilities and outlooks.

“The focus of this exhibit is to posit a group of artists, like Henry Darger, whose body of work was a narrative of an alternative reality,” said Jan Petry, who co-curated the exhibit with David Syrek.

According to the art critic and author of the exhibit’s accompanying essay, Edward Gómez, “To encounter even a single image by any one of these artists, all of whom were or are primarily picture-makers, is to enter into the distinctive, imaginary world to which each one of them gave lasting, visible form.”

Click below to view the exhibition catalog.

Visit the following link to read coverage of this exhibition:
Chicago Tribune