• June 29, 2018–February 10, 2019

Chicago Calling: Art Against the Flow

Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art

756 North Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60642

Joseph Yoakum (American, 1886-1972). The Mounds of Pleasure/on JA Brimms Farm Near Walnut Grove..., 1970. Ink and pastel on paper, 15 3/8 x 11 3/4 in. Richard and Ellen Sandor Family Collection.

Chicago Calling: Art Against the Flow explores Chicago’s history of robust recognition and acceptance of self-taught art and artists.

Curated by Kenneth C. 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. Themes and associations among works in the exhibition include expressions of fierce resistance to soul-crushing circumstances, to conventional ideals of beauty, and much in between. Culled from 30 collections (and many more examined), the exhibition explores the commingled histories of the ten artists, and the artists, educators, curators, dealers, collectors, and appreciators who comprised the culture of receptivity in Chicago, and embraced their work. The history of exhibitions of non-mainstream work in Chicago, from 1941 to the present, amplifies and underscores the curatorial premise.

On November 1–3, 2018, Intuit hosted the Art Against the Flow Summit in conjunction with the exhibition. This international convening interrogated the theme of “place” in the context of the outsider art genre. Click here to watch recordings of the speakers and panels from this symposium. 

Organized and traveled by Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, Chicago Calling: Art Against the Flow premiers at Intuit from June 29, 2018–February 10, 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 the Outsider Art Museum (Amsterdam, October 7, 2020–May 24, 2021).