Hawkins/Hawkins: One Saw Everything, One Saw Nothing

September 14, 2012 - January 5, 2013
Curated by Jan Petry

Painting by Hawkins with four figures on left. Abstract sculpture by Bolden right.

This exhibition brought together two masters of self-taught art who share a name and a talent for using simple materials to create compelling images: William Hawkins and Hawkins Bolden.

William Hawkins (1895-1990) was born in Kentucky but spent much of his adult life in Columbus, Ohio. It wasn't until being introduced to artist Lee Garrett in 1979 that he began dedicating himself exclusively to art making and produced over 450 pieces. Boldly expressing his interpretations of architectural forms, religious subjects and nature studies in bright colors and broad, patterned brushstrokes, Hawkins was able to create a sense of motion in his work.

Hawkins Bolden (1914-2005) lived his entire life in Memphis, Tennessee. After his twin brother accidentally hit him in the head with a bat during a game, he began to suffer seizures. At age 8, he collapsed to the ground and was struck blind. Bolden's sculptures were made from old pots, buckets and oil drum lids that he punctured with holes (to make eyes) and decorated with carpet remnants, tubing and rags (for tongues) and were suspended from poles around the yard to keep away the birds.

The creations of these two artists, one possessing a keen sense of touch and the other a unique vision of the world around him, have a powerful impact when viewed side by side in this exhibition.

Click here to view photos of the exhibition on Flickr.

Ex-Static: George Kagan's Radios

July 13, 2012 - January 5, 2013
Co-curated by Erik Peterson and Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford

Drawing of radios on left. Radio sculpture in gallery on right.

This exhibition featured a striking body of over 50 hand-built radios and drawings produced over the past 14 years by self-taught Chicago artist George Kagan. Included were sets that range from small battery-powered units to towering jukebox-inspired pieces. Throughout his decade and a half building radios, Kagan has also produced an archive of drawings, which act as concept sketches, schematics, and documentation. As art objects, Kagan's pieces occupy a hybrid space, with inexpensive car radio faces embedded into highly crafted wooden exteriors, and outfitted with tweeters, subwoofers, and amplifiers, offering up deliciously resonant sound. Kagan's works jog in time, oscillating between technological obsolescence and nostalgia, mass manufacturing and skilled carpentry. Ex-Static offered a body of work that weds pop with symphony, all while conjuring up the distant pre-TV days when families gathered around the radio like an information shrine, as well as the more recent times when we carried stacks of cassette tapes in our cars. Kagan seems to be advocating for a radical form of capitalism, one that pushes back against our reality of planned obsolescence and constant technological updates leading to a cycle of throw-always.

Click here to view photos of the exhibition on Flickr.

Karl Wirsum Eyeballs the Intuit Collection

July 13 - September 1, 2012
Curated by Karl Wirsum

Pauline Simon painting of figures on the beach on the left. Figures and faces on right.

Curator Karl Wirsum has "eyeballed" Intuit's Permanent Collection to create an exhibition of his favorites. As a member of the Chicago Imagists group Hairy Who, he was instrumental in setting the tone for Chicago's art scene in the 1960s. As an artist, Wirsum has developed a style that combines vivid graphic imagery with a sense of humor, a style that is mirrored in his selections for this exhibition. This exhibition celebrated those artists who create work that expand the imagination.


February 10 - June 30, 2012
Co-curated by Jan Petry and Molly Tarbell

Seascape with winged lion and other beasts and storm brewing

HEAVEN+HELL was an inspired collaboration of creative thinking and practical dynamics from two very different organizations: Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art and the Loyola University Museum of Art (LUMA). The exhibition served as a bridge between the two museums, with the Hell portion of the exhibition taking place in Intuit's Galleries, and Heaven taking place at LUMA.

The themes of heaven and hell are frequently addressed in outsider and intuitive art. Outsider artists' perspectives range from illustrative, word-laden drawings to stylized, sculptural versions of figurative images that populate their perceptions of the heavenly and the hellish. Self-taught and outsider artists often use the themes of heaven and hell not as concepts, but as broad visualizations that may be invented, drawn from popular media or the Bible, or influenced by their religious upbringing. HEAVEN+HELL sought to explore the breadth of expression in self-taught art with these themes in mind. The exhibition featured 165 works of art by 54 artists as well as several anonymous works.

Click here to view photos of the exhibition on Flickr.