Susan Te Kahurangi King: 1958-2018 

March 7-August 4, 2019
Curated by Alison Amick

Organized by Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, Susan Te Kahurangi King: 1958-2018 presents a survey of the living, New Zealand-based artist’s work. Although King hasn't spoken for more than five decades, she has been drawing prolifically since she was a child. This major exhibition brings together more than 60 of her drawings, along with memorabilia from the personal archive of her sister, Petita Cole. The exhibition includes drawings that span her output from her early colorful mashups of Donald Duck and cartoon imagery to her detailed graphite abstractions to her most recent brush work created during a summer residency at the Elaine de Kooning House in East Hampton, N.Y. The exhibition will be the first major presentation of King’s work at Intuit and the first museum exhibition to include personal objects.

Susan Te Kahurangi King (New Zealand, b. 1951). Untitled, c. 1959-1961. Crayon on paper, 13-1/4x8-1/4 in. (34x21 cm), A32417. Courtesy of the artist, Chris Byrne, Andrew Edlin Gallery, and Marlborough Contemporary, London and New York. Photo by Adam Reich

Susan Te Kahurangi King (New Zealand, b. 1951). Untitled, c. 1959-1961. Crayon on paper, 13-1/4x8-1/4 in. (34x21 cm), A32417. Courtesy of the artist, Chris Byrne, Andrew Edlin Gallery, and Marlborough Contemporary, London and New York. Photo by Adam Reich

Born in Te Aroha, New Zealand, in 1951, Susan Te Kahurangi King began making art as a young child. Her use of verbal language was well in decline by the age of 5, and she stopped speaking entirely by age 8. In 1960, Susan’s family moved to Auckland, so she could attend a special school. King continued to make drawings until the early 1990s, when she quit unexpectedly for around 15 years.  

She resumed her artistic practice in 2008 and within a year of her comeback, had her first solo exhibition, in Australia. Since then, her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, with major solo exhibitions in New Zealand, United States and Europe. The 2016-18 Susan Te Kahurangi King Fellowship at the American Folk Art Museum (AFAM) was established to further study her work, which continues to garner public attention through gallery and museum exhibitions, including the recent Vestiges and Verse (AFAM, 2018). Her work is in the collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the American Folk Art Museum, the Chartwell Collection (Auckland) and the Wallace Arts Trust, New Zealand. King resides in Hamilton, New Zealand, and continues to make art. 

King’s intimate drawings (graphite, colored pencil, crayon and ink) reference imagery drawn from everyday life but reinterpreted: not literal depictions of her daily life but inspirations gleaned from her surroundings, thoughts, understandings and experiences. Figures such as Donald Duck and the Fanta clown appear prolifically in certain eras of her work, as do curvilinear forms and piled-on landscapes of imagery derived from human forms and popular culture.  

Over the past decade or so, Cole has been working on what has now come to be known as “The Petita Cole Collection”: items collected that relate to the life and works of her sister, Susan Te Kahurangi King. This collection includes not only written and photographic material but a wide range of objects and items. 

King’s drawings combined with Cole’s personal archive help frame and offer insight into the unknown narrative of Susan’s work by providing and suggesting connections, placing her in the context of a larger, connected world of shared visual imagery.  

Through its Henry Darger Room Collection and archives, Intuit has long recognized the important role artistic source materials and the studio/living space play in adding depth to the understanding of artists and their work. With its exhibitions, including Susan Te Kahurangi King: 1958-2018, Intuit seeks to provoke dialogue about artistic, cultural and social issues of our time while bringing to light work by under-recognized contemporary and historical self-taught artists. 

Special thanks to Susan Te Kahurangi King, Petita Cole, Chris Byrne, American Folk Art Museum Susan Te Kahurangi King Fellowship, Andrew Edlin Gallery, Robert Heald Gallery, Elaine de Kooning House, Tim Garvey, KAWS, John Maloof, Private Collection, and Dr. David Walega.

Press coverage of this exhibition:
Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art opens exhibition of works by Susan Te Kahurangi King (Artdaily)
Best events in March (Crain’s Chicago)
Susan Te Kahurangi King at Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, Chicago (ARTnews)
Dual Art Show at Intuit Makes Case for Art as Therapy (WTTW, PBS)
'Outsider' Art Is Going Mainstream. But In Chicago, It's Always Been In (Here & Now, NPR)
The Mix: ‘Moby Dick,’ Valerie June and more cool things to do April 19-25 (Chicago Sun-Times)
The More You Look at Susan’s Work, the More You Uncover’: Susan Te Kahurangi King’s Inimitable Drawings Showcased in Chicago (Artnews)

Chicago: foyer d’art brut (Chicago Calling: Art Against the Flow)

March 23-August 2, 2019
La Halle Saint Pierre, Paris, France
Curated by Kenneth Burkhart and Lisa Stone

Opening in Paris this Saturday, March 23, Chicago: foyer d'art brut (Intuit's Art Design Chicago exhibition, known in the United States as Chicago Calling: Art Against the Flow) explores Chicago's unique history as an epicenter for outsider art.

Curated by Kenneth Burkhart, an independent curator, and Lisa Stone, curator of the Roger Brown Study Collection of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the exhibition presents intrinsic themes embodied in the works of 10 Chicago artists: Henry Darger, William Dawson, Lee Godie, Mr. Imagination, Aldo Piacenza, Pauline Simon, Drossos Skyllas, Dr. Charles Smith, Wesley Willis, and Joseph Yoakum.

Organized and traveled by Intuit, the exhibit premiered at Intuit from June 29, 2018-January 6, 2019, in Chicago. The exhibition tours to Halle Saint Pierre (Paris, March 23-August 2, 2019), Kunsthaus Kaufbeuren (Kaufbeuren, Germany, October 10, 2019-January 26, 2020), Collection de l'Art Brut (Lausanne, March 12-August 30, 2020) and Outsider Art Museum (Amsterdam, October 7, 2020-May 24, 2021).

Chicago: foyer d'art brut is part of Art Design Chicago, an initiative of the Terra Foundation for American Art exploring Chicago's art and design legacy, with presenting partner The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. Intuit has received funding from the Terra Foundation for American Art to support the exhibition, catalog and international travel. Additional catalog funding is provided by the Elizabeth Firestone Graham Foundation and the Dorothea and Leo Rabkin Foundation. 

Teacher Fellowship Program Student Exhibition

May 11-June 16, 2019
Curated by Melissa Smith
Assisted by Jane Castro

Intuit's Teacher Fellowship Program Student Exhibition showcases works generated from the 2018-2019 Teacher Fellowship Program. Inspired by self-taught and outsider art, students transformed found materials and used non-traditional techniques to create works of art that reflect their unique personal visions.

The 26 teachers whose students are represented in the exhibition are from 14 participating schools: Acero Victoria Soto High School, Burnside Scholastic Academy, Decatur Classical School, Ernst Prussing Elementary School, Hiawatha Elementary School, Hyde Park Academy High School, Jahn Elementary School of Fine Arts, James Russell Lowell Elementary School, John W. Garvy Elementary School, Mahalia Jackson Elementary School, Ogden International High School, Peace and Education Coalition High School – Sinclair Campus, Skinner West Elementary School, and William Howard Taft High School.

The Teacher Fellowship Program is Intuit’s award-winning professional development program for Chicago Public School teachers, which reaches more than 600 students across Chicago every year. Throughout the school year, the Teacher Fellowship Program supports a cohort of teachers to create an interdisciplinary lesson plan inspired by outsider artists. By introducing outsider art into their classrooms, Teacher Fellows are empowered to give their students an opportunity to create in a non-judgmental environment.

Intuit recognizes the following for their generous support of the Teacher Fellowship Program:

This Stillness

March 28-May 5, 2019
Opening Reception: April 4, 2019
Curated by Jamillah Hinson

This Stillness is an exploration into the complexities of Black girlhood and womanhood and the quiet reflections of self that arise from these circumstances. The exhibition goes beyond the contemporary use of a traditional Black American art form—assemblage—and delves into themes of autonomy, self-reflection, and the dehumanization of Black women and girls. At the same time, the exhibition serves as an archive of personal, familial and cultural identity. This Stillness explores mediums often found in the practice of Black American female artists who are re-piecing histories, narratives and memories that were not allowed to flourish in the past. The practices of these artists are the manifestation of the contradictions of living in America while Black and female. Artists Judy Bowman, Tracy Crump and Vanessa German work in drastically different practices—though each evokes strong emotion, displays an understanding of the self and community, and provides a space to examine the fiercely personal narratives that are created.

Judy Bowman, who within the past five years resumed her artistic practice for the first time since she was a teenager, crafts multimedia portraits and scenes depicting Black American life in Detroit’s Black Bottom and the South. Her works, which reimagine an earlier generation, are heavily inspired by the tradition of collage, assemblage and material work in Black American history. A quick glance at Bowman’s pieces recalls work of Romare Bearden, Horace Pippin or the contemporary works of Bisa Butler. Bowman’s work falls into a “non-traditional” documentation of Black life, whether the documentation is in the now or from memory. Self-documentation of communities of color allows an autonomy to be reclaimed by forcing the white hand and white gaze out of the narrative of Black life, history and representation.

Tracy Crump has spent her recent years in and around Chicago and uses her past struggles and experience to inform her artwork. Crump’s work covers a range of styles, from ornate line drawings reminiscent of Aubrey Beardsley to hazy gouaches to realistic portraits. Crump’s work began as a method of processing the hardship in her personal life as she spent years of her life living in hiding—an experience that led her to believe it was wrong for her to hide her work. This realization prompted her to meet with Chicago gallerists, show her work to the world, and transform herself into the artist she is today.

Vanessa German is a Pittsburgh-based activist and multidisciplinary artist best known for her large-scale mixed media sculptures. German repurposes and reclaims objects found in her Homewood neighborhood, a community heavily influential to her work, subsuming its discarded bottles, figurines and doll parts into her statues of Black girls. Her layered collages evoke a myriad of sources ranging from Congolese Nkishi, European Catholic iconography and African-American memory jugs. German’s reappropriation of materials is not merely an aesthetic choice, but also a political one. Her “power figures” use relics of urban decay to make visible the toll of white supremacist oppression on Black communities and bodies, particularly young Black women, while offering hope for healing through self-love and social change.

This Stillness allows audiences to experience the artistic representation of living in Black bodies and begin to appreciate their own narratives in the process. With haunting sculptures alongside assemblage and hand drawing, This Stillness gives audience members a choice to either step back and admire the works, the broader statements, and themes upon which the pieces are built, or immerse themselves in the nuances and identities that are drawn out and placed on display.

Press coverage of this exhibition:
Here Are All The Best Museum And Gallery Openings This Spring (Nylon Magazine)

Creative Impulse: Works by Robert Johnson and E. Nix

February 7-April 21, 2019
Curated by Faheem Majeed
Assisted by Joshua Willis

The rarely-exhibited works of Chicago-based artists Robert Johnson and E. Nix are at once extraordinary, challenging and filled with moments of great beauty. Despite each artist working in disparate mediums--Johnson is best known for his reverse glass paintings on discarded windows and Nix’s background is in blacksmithing--their art is similarly informed by personal struggles and their daily efforts to overcome trauma and addiction. Johnson and Nix both have devoted followings among primarily African-American collectors in Chicago, but are largely unknown outside these circles, keeping with Intuit’s dedication to highlighting undervalued artists overlooked by the mainstream art world.

Johnson has created reverse oil paintings on found windows since the mid 1990s. For the artist, this method keeps the colors “alive and free” while the glass itself creates a dimension which simultaneously separates viewers from the painting and reflects them within it. His works are marked by a vivid expressiveness and masterful handling of color. Widely collected on Chicago’s south side in the ‘90s and 2000s, Johnson abandoned painting in 2007 to join the army as an extreme form of drug rehab and fiscal support for his family. After serving in Iraq he settled in Colorado for several years. In 2018, he relocated to Chicago and returned to painting, harnessing his highly-developed technical skills and fresh use of unconventional materials to enter into a new phase of artistic creation.

A protégé of the late Erwin Gruen--master blacksmith and founder of Gruen Gallery in River North--Nix is a metal worker and multimedia artist. Initially instructed by Gruen in the process of creating iron furniture, tables, African art stands and pedestals, he has since developed his own distinct aesthetic. Nix is comfortable working in a wide variety of materials, as seen in his steel and polyresin sculptures or his two-dimensional collaged images and acrylics paintings on wood. These visceral works often deal with addiction and dangerous experiences that, in the words of the artist, can either bring about self-destruction or metamorphosis.

Though no artist’s works are bound by their biographies, the challenges both Johnson and Nix face inform their art. They act as catalysts for their creation and appear as their themes. As a result, the art is beautiful, sad, even scary. Despite their power, these works remain largely unseen by the public, providing Intuit an opportunity to again promote talented yet neglected artists, particularly at a time when terms like “folk art” and “outsider art” are being reexamined.

News coverage of this exhibition:
Dual Art Show at Intuit Makes Case for Art as Therapy (WTTW, PBS)
'Outsider' Art Is Going Mainstream. But In Chicago, It's Always Been In (Here & Now, NPR)