3-D Doings: The Imagist Object in Chicago Art, 1964-1980 explores the sculptural work and dimensional paintings of a group of Chicago artists collectively known as the Chicago Imagists. Contemporaneous with the Pop art movement, Chicago Imagism can be characterized as warm and wacky—a stark contrast to the cooler, more aloof Pop styles in New York and London. The Imagist movement (a term coined by art historian Franz Schulze in 1972) was propelled by a core group of artists—all graduates of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago—that exhibited their work together as The Hairy Who between 1966 and 1968 at the Hyde Park Art Center on Chicago’s South Side. The Hairy Who exhibitions were among a number of group shows held throughout the 1960s and 1970s, including False Image and the Nonplussed Some in 1968 and 1969, Marriage Chicago Style in 1970, and Chicago Antigua in 1971.
Although each artist had their own fiercely unique style, they shared a similar interest in popular culture, comics, and material objects. Some artists, like Suellen Rocca and Roger Brown, worked with mass-produced materials, manipulating and augmenting everyday household items. Other artists used materials associated with craft: Karl Wirsum, Christina Ramberg, and Philip Hanson, for instance, made extensive use of papier mâché, and Barbara Rossi used sewn fabrics in her printmaking. Some artists, including Art Green and Eleanor Dube, painted on shaped canvases. In addition to members of the original Imagist groups, the exhibition will include work by Don Baum, the chief curator of the Imagist moment; Ray Yoshida, the teacher with whom many Imagists studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; H.C. Westermann, arguably the point of origin of Chicago Imagism; and Red Grooms, whose large-scale installation City of Chicago links the Windy City to artists in New York City and beyond.