Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Thursday, April 18

Gapers Block

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr

« FLATS Studio Opening Reception: Gravity Gone Girl; Annabelle; Men, Women & Children; The Dog; Last Days In Vietnam & A Good Marriage »

Film Wed Oct 01 2014

The Hairy Who Returns -- to the Siskel Film Center

Hairy Who exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery, 1969.

If you missed the year's greatest art film in June, The Hairy Who and the Chicago Imagists is coming back. The 109-minute documentary about the lurid and outrageous Chicago art movement of the '60s and '70s will be shown at the Siskel Film Center from Friday through Oct. 9.

Director Leslie Buchbinder will be on hand at the 8:15pm Friday show. On Sunday, the six original Hairy Who artists will appear at the 5:30pm show.

The film was shown here a few times in June and we reviewed it for Gapers Block then.

Hairy Who exhibit at the Hyde Park Art Center, 1968.

If "art film" sounds boring, this one isn't. The artists then and now, and the contemporary artists they influenced, are a colorful and inventive crew. The first group of artists who became known as the Chicago Imagists were the Hairy Who -- Jim Falconer, Art Green, Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, Suellen Rocca and Karl Wirsum. They burst upon the Chicago art scene in 1966, when Don Baum, director of the Hyde Park Art Center, first showed their work. Another group of Imagists -- the Nonplussed Some -- was led by the late Ed Paschke and Ed Flood plus Sarah Canright. The False Image group, which included Roger Brown, Philip Hanson and Christine Ramberg, followed soon after.

The Imagists brought what was considered lowbrow art to highbrow galleries. They were influenced by European surrealism and Dada as well as pop culture such as comic books, carnivals and pinball machines. Those artists soared in the '60s and '70s and many are still active today. (A new art center dedicated to the work of Paschke, who died in 2004, opened here in July.)

In turn, the Imagists influenced future outsider art, street art, post-street art and the current popularity of comic books, superheroes and graphic novels -- genres that have become mainstream. Jeff Koons, who worked as Paschke's assistant, is a sculptor known for creations such as Balloon Dog and Rabbit (owned by the MCA). Chris Ware, who started drawing cartoons in the 1980s, now is an award-winning graphic novelist and creator of Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth. The work of comic artist Daniel Clowes was shown in a major exhibit at the MCA here last year.

And the Imagists' influence extends nationwide. What Nerve! Alternative Figures in American Art, 1960 to the Present is the current exhibit at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum in Providence. Organized by Dan Nadel, co-editor of the Comics Journal and author of books about comic book history, the show runs through Jan. 4. It features the work of the Hairy Who's Nutt, Nilsson and Wirsum as well as artists from the San Francisco group known as Funk and artists from the noise band Destroy All Monsters and another artists' collective known as Forcefield.

Furthermore, the book chosen for One Book, One Chicago for 2014-15 is Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, which is, among other things, an imaginative history of comic book art. One Book, One Chicago will explore the book's central theme, "Heroes: Real & Imagined."

The art movements started by the Chicago Imagists in 1960s have spun off many successors. Both the originals and their followers are featured in interviews in the film, The Hairy Who and the Chicago Imagists. Director Buchbinder has created a joyous, graphic portrait of the artists and the period. As our Gapers Block review headlined: It's a film about the Chicago art movement that offended almost everyone. It ain't your grandma's art museum.

GB-hairywho_cover.jpgThe Hairy Who and the Chicago Imagists (2014) opens Friday and runs through Oct. 9 at the Gene Siskel film Center, 164 N. State St. Tickets are $11 general admission, $7 for students and $6 for members. Buy them online or at the box office. For showtimes and more information, see the website or call 312-846-2600.

Images courtesy Pentimenti Productions.

GB store
GB store

Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »


An Angry White Guy
AREA Chicago
ArchitectureChicago Plus
Arts Engagement Exchange
The Art Letter
Art or Idiocy?
Art Slant Chicago
Art Talk Chicago
Bad at Sports
Bite and Smile
Brian Dickie of COT
Bridgeport International
Carrie Secrist Gallery
Chainsaw Calligraphy
Chicago Art Blog
Chicago Art Department
Chicago Art Examiner
Chicago Art Journal
Chicago Artists Resource
Chicago Art Map
Chicago Art Review
Chicago Classical Music
Chicago Comedy Examiner
Chicago Cultural Center
Chicago Daily Views
Chicago Film Examiner
Chicago Film Archives
Chicago Gallery News
Chicago Uncommon
Contemporary Art Space
Co-op Image Group
Co-Prosperity Sphere
Chicago Urban Art Society
Creative Control
Devening Projects
DIY Film
The Exhibition Agency
The Flatiron Project
F newsmagazine
The Gallery Crawl...
Galerie F
The Gaudy God
Happy Dog Gallery
Homeroom Chicago
I, Homunculus
Hyde Park Artcenter Blog
Joyce Owens: Artist on Art
Julius Caesar
Kasia Kay Gallery
Kavi Gupta Gallery
Rob Kozlowski
Lookingglass Theatre Blog
Lumpen Blog
Mess Hall
Neoteric Art
Not If But When
Noun and Verb
On Film
On the Make
Peanut Gallery
Peregrine Program
The Poor Choices Show
Pop Up Art Loop
The Post Family
The Recycled Film
Reversible Eye
Rhona Hoffman Gallery
Roots & Culture Gallery
The Seen
Sisterman Vintage
Site of Big Shoulders
Sixty Inches From Center
Soleil's To-Do's
Sometimes Store
Stop Go Stop
Storefront Rebellion
TOC Blog
Theater for the Future
Theatre in Chicago
The Franklin
The Mission
The Theater Loop
Thomas Robertello Gallery
Time Tells Tony Wight Gallery
Uncommon Photographers
The Unscene Chicago
The Visualist
Western Exhibitions
What's Going On?
What to Wear During an Orange Alert?
You, Me, Them, Everybody
Zg Gallery

GB store



A/C on Flickr

Join the A/C Flickr Pool.

About A/C

A/C is the arts and culture section of Gapers Block, covering the many forms of expression on display in Chicago. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: Nancy Bishop,
A/C staff inbox:



A/C Flickr Pool
 Subscribe in a reader.

GB store

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15