“Untitled”, Gelatin Silver Print and Ink, 4.75″ x 3.75″, n.d. Collection of Scott H. Lang. Photo courtesy of John Michael Kohler Arts Center

“Untitled”, Gelatin Silver Print and Ink, 4.75″ x 3.75″, n.d. Collection of Scott H. Lang. Photo courtesy of John Michael Kohler Arts Center

Lee Godie: Self-Portraits

April 8-July 5, 2016
Opening Reception: Friday, April 8, 5:30-8:30 p.m.
Curated by Karen Patterson

A prolific self-taught artist and a fixture on the steps of the Art Institute of Chicago, Lee Godie (1908-1994) became well-known in the Chicago arts scene in the 1960s. Self-portraits are prevalent throughout Godie’s portfolio of work but most significant are those taken in automatic photo booths in Chicago bus stations. Godie used the booths as an experimental space where, away from the busy streets, she could explore multiple personae with the aid of costumes, props and physical expression. The resulting black-and-white photographs were embellished by hand and sold individually or attached to larger works as the artist’s signature. Today, the 5-inch by 4-inch gelatin silver prints are among Godie’s most sought-after pieces.

Curated by Karen Patterson of the John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Lee Godie: Self-Portraits is the first exhibition explicitly showcasing a selection of Godie’s photo booth self-portraits. A departure from Godie’s more familiar paintings and drawings, more than 50 photographs provide viewers with an authentic glimpse into the artist’s complex and imaginative personality.

Godie’s work can be found among the permanent collections at the American Folk Art Museum in New York, Milwaukee Art Museum, Arkansas Arts Center, Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

In addition, step into our in-house photobooth to create your own Godie-inspired portrait, while supplies last!

Lee Godie: Self-Portraits was organized by The John Michael Kohler Arts Center. The Arts Center extends its gratitude to BMO Harris Bank, Herzfeld Foundation and Sargento Foods, Inc. for major support of this exhibition and to the Wisconsin Arts Board, with funds from the State of Wisconsin and the National Endowment for the Arts. Funding also was provided by the members of the Exhibitions & Collections Giving Circle. In addition, Arts Center programs are made possible by the generous support of its members.

Visit the following links to read recent coverage of this exhibition:
Chicago Reader
Chicago Splash Magazine
Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Tonight
Time Out Chicago
Third Coast Review

Click here to read curator Karen Patterson's essay on the exhibition.

Intuit thanks the following businesses for their generous support of Lee Godie: Self-Portraits: