Chicago, b.1940

Gladys Nilsson

GladysNilsson first came to prominence in 1966, when she joined five other recent School of the Art Institute of Chicago graduates (James Falconer, Art Green, Jim Nutt, Suellen Rocca, and Karl Wirsum) for the first of a series of group exhibitions called the Hairy Who. The artists’ styles were assertively idiosyncratic, but most had trained with professors Kathleen Blackshear and Paul Wieghardt and adapted some of their respective Surrealist and German Expressionist tendencies. Nilsson skillfully integrates elements of both in her playful investigations into human sexuality and its inherent contradictions. In many ways, Nilsson’s recent works mark a return to the ambition and scale of those early works that helped establish the Hairy Who. She was the first member of the group—and one of the first women in history—to have...

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Biography

GladysNilsson first came to prominence in 1966, when she joined five other recent School of the Art Institute of Chicago graduates (James Falconer, Art Green, Jim Nutt, Suellen Rocca, and Karl Wirsum) for the first of a series of group exhibitions called the Hairy Who. The artists’ styles were assertively idiosyncratic, but most had trained with professors Kathleen Blackshear and Paul Wieghardt and adapted some of their respective Surrealist and German Expressionist tendencies. Nilsson skillfully integrates elements of both in her playful investigations into human sexuality and its inherent contradictions. In many ways, Nilsson’s recent works mark a return to the ambition and scale of those early works that helped establish the Hairy Who. She was the first member of the group—and one of the first women in history—to have a solo exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 1973. In 1990, Nilsson accepted a teaching position at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she is now a professor.

Since 1966, Nilsson’s work has been the subject of more than fifty solo exhibitions, including sixteen at Phyllis Kind Gallery (1970–1979, 1981–1983, 1987, 1991, and 1994, Chicago and New York), two at The Candy Store (1971 and 1987, Folsom, California), and one at Hales Gallery (2019, London). Her work has also been featured in many important museum exhibitions, such as Human Concern/Personal Torment (1969, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York); Who Chicago? (1981, Camden Art Center, London); Parallel Visions: Modern Artists and Outsider Art (1992, Los Angeles County Museum of Art); Chicago Imagists (2011, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Wisconsin); and What Nerve! Alternative Figures in American Art, 1960 to the Present (2014, Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence). Most recently, Nilsson’s work appeared in The Candy Store (2018, Parker Gallery, Los Angeles), Hairy Who? 1966–1969 (2018–2019, School of the Art Institute of Chicago), Chicago Imagists from the Phyllis Kind Collection (2019, Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago), and How Chicago! Imagists 1960s–1970s (2019, Goldsmiths Centre for Contemporary Art, University of London).

Nilsson’s work is featured in the collections of major museums around the world, including the Art Institute of Chicago; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Wisconsin; the Milwaukee Art Museum; the Morgan Library, New York; the Museum Moderner Kunst, Vienna; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut.

Artworks

8

Gleefully Askew, 2019

Related Categories

20th Century Art / 21st Century Art / Acrylic and Paper Collage on Canvas / Acrylic on Canvas / Acrylic Paint / Acrylic Painting / American Art / Art of the 2010s / Canvas / Chicago / Collage / Collage on Canvas / Contemporary American Art / Face/Body (Human Figures) / Fairytale Imagery / Female Identity / Figurative Painting / Inspired by German Expressionism / Inspired by Surrealism / Painting / Paper Collage / Paper Collage on Canvas / Playful Imagery / Post-War American Art / Rhythmic Expression / Short and Quick Brushstrokes / Smooth and Flat Surface / United States / Universal Human Condition / Women Artists

Curriculum Vitae

Education

  • 1962

    School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago (1958-1962)

Selected Solo Exhibitions

  • 2020

    Gladys Nilsson: Honk! Fifty Years of Painting, Garth Greenan Gallery, New York, January 30–March 14

  • Gladys Nilsson: Honk! Fifty Years of Painting, Matthew Marks Gallery, New York, January 30–March 14

  • Gladys Nilsson, Parker Gallery, Los Angeles, May 9–June 27

Selected Group Exhibitions

  • 2021

    Private Eye: The Imagist Impulse in Chicago Art, Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, April 2021

  • 2020

    Empowered, University of Northern Iowa Gallery of Art, Cedar Falls, January 13–February 29

  • 2019

    Picture Gallery in Transformation, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago at MASP, Museum of Art São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand, Brazil, April 5– December 30

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Curriculum Vitae

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Education

  • 1962

    School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago (1958-1962)

Selected Solo Exhibitions

  • 2020

    Gladys Nilsson: Honk! Fifty Years of Painting, Garth Greenan Gallery, New York, January 30–March 14

  • Gladys Nilsson: Honk! Fifty Years of Painting, Matthew Marks Gallery, New York, January 30–March 14

  • Gladys Nilsson, Parker Gallery, Los Angeles, May 9–June 27

  • 2019

    Gladys Nilsson: Unencumbered, Hales London, March 20–April 27

  • Gladys Nilsson, Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, September 13–October 29

  • 2017

    Gladys Nilsson: The 1980s, Garth Greenan Gallery, New York, January 12–February 18

  • 2014

    Gladys Nilsson, Garth Greenan Gallery, New York, October 23–December 20

  • 2013

    Gladys Nilsson: New Watercolors, Tory Folliard Gallery, Milwaukee, June 7–July 6

  • 2012

    Gladys Nilsson, Jean Albano Gallery, Chicago, September 7–October 20

  • 2010

    Gladys Nilsson: Works from 1966–2010, Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art, Chicago, April 9–May 23

  • 2009

    Gladys Nilsson, Jean Albano Gallery, Chicago, April 24–June 3

  • 2008

    Gladys Nilsson, Luise Ross Gallery, New York, April 17–May 31

  • 2007

    Gladys Nilsson: 25 Years of Watercolors, Jean Albano Gallery, Chicago, May 4–June 30

  • 2006

    Gladys Nilsson, Tarble Art Center, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, January 21–February 26

  • 2005

    Gladys Nilsson, Jean Albano Gallery, Chicago, September 9–October 18

  • Gladys Nilsson, University Art Gallery, Saginaw Valley State University, University Center, Michigan, October 3–29

  • 2004

    Gladys Nilsson, Tory Folliard Gallery, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, February 13–March 13

  • 2003

    Gladys Nilsson, Adrian College, Adrian, Michigan, January 6–25

  • Gladys Nilsson, Jean Albano Gallery, Chicago, October 24–December 6

  • 2002

    Gladys Nilsson, Fleisher/Ollman Gallery, Philadelphia, February 9–March 9

  • 2001

    Gladys Nilsson, Jean Albano Gallery, Chicago, October 19–December 1

  • 2000

    Gladys Nilsson, Rosemont College, Rosemont, Pennsylvania, February 3–March 3

Selected Group Exhibitions

  • 2021

    Private Eye: The Imagist Impulse in Chicago Art, Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, April 2021

  • 2020

    Empowered, University of Northern Iowa Gallery of Art, Cedar Falls, January 13–February 29

  • 2019

    Picture Gallery in Transformation, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago at MASP, Museum of Art São Paulo Assis Chateaubriand, Brazil, April 5– December 30

  • Beyond the Cape! Comics and Contemporary Art, Boca Raton Museum of Art, April 16–October 6

  • Landscape Without Boundaries, Manetti Shrem Museum of Art, UC Davis, July 14–December 15

  • Chicago Imagists from the Phyllis Kind Collection, Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, July 16–August 14

  • 2018

    You Are Who I Think You Think You Are, American Medium, New York, March 29–April 28

  • Breaking the Mold: Investigating Gender, Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Kentucky, April 7–September 9

  • The Candy Store, Parker Gallery, Los Angeles, June 10–August 11

  • Out of Control, Venus Over Manhattan, New York, June 28–August 10, 2018

  • The Time Is Now! Art Worlds of Chicago’s South Side, 1960–1980, Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, September 13–December 30

  • Outliers and American Vanguard Art, National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., January 28–May 13, 2018; High Museum of Art, Atlanta, June 24–September 30, 2018; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, November 18, 2018–March 18, 2019

  • Eye Deal: Abstract Bodies of the Chicago Imagists, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Wisconsin, August 11, 2018–June 9, 2019

  • Between the Buildings: Art from Chicago, 1930s–1980s, Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, August 30, 2018–March 23, 2019

  • The Figure and the Chicago Imagists: Selections from the Elmhurst College Art Collection, Elmhurst Art Museum, Illinois, September 8, 2018–January 13, 2019

  • 3-D Doing Things: The Imagist Object in Chicago Art, 1964–1930, Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York, September 8, 2018–January 6, 2019

  • Hairy Who?, Art Institute of Chicago, September 27, 2018–January 9, 2019

  • West by Midwest: Geographies of Art and Kinship, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, November 17, 2018–January 27, 2019

  • 2017

    Investigating Identity: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Contemporary Art, Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College, Lynchburg, Virginia, February 3–April 9

  • Kings and Queens: Pinball, Imagists and Chicago, Elmhurst Art Museum, Illinois, February 25–May 7

  • Masterclass: A Survey of Work from the Twentieth Century, Pavel Zoubok Gallery, New York, February 28–April 8

  • Famous Artists from Chicago, 1965–1975, Fondazione Prada, Milan, October 20, 2017–January 15, 2018

  • 2016

    125 from the Permanent Collection, Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College, Lynchburg, Virginia, January 22–August 31

  • Chicago and Vicinity, Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago, March 5–April 23

  • Shout for Tomorrow, Hirschl & Adler Modern, New York, May 5–June 17

  • Gesture Play, Simone Subal Gallery, New York, June 23–July 29

  • 2014

    Head, Western Exhibitions, Chicago, January 31–March 8

  • What Nerve! Alternative Figures in American Art, 1960 to the Present, Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, September 19, 2014–January 4, 2015

  • 2013

    Gladys Nilsson and Julia Benjamin, National Exemplar Gallery, New York, September 9–October 20

  • Hidden Treasures Unveiled: Watercolors, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, September 28, 2013–January 12, 2014

  • 2012

    Drawings, Russell Bowman Gallery, Chicago, February 3–April 21

  • Someone Else’s Dream, Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, January 29–May 6

  • 2011

    The Paper Show, Jean Albano Gallery, Chicago, March 4–April 17

  • Chicago Imagists at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Wisconsin, September 11, 2011–January 15, 2012

  • 2010

    Chicago! Chicago!, Russell Bowman Art Advisory, Chicago, November 5–December 31

  • Touch & Go: Ray Yoshida and His Spheres of Influence, Sullivan Galleries, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, November 13, 2010–February 12, 2011

  • 2009

    Modern and Contemporary Works on Paper, Art Institute of Chicago, March 24–September 13

  • 2008

    Chicago Imagism: 1965–1985, Russell Bowman Art Advisory, Chicago, May 16–August 16

  • Hairy Who? Ha!, Art Institute of Chicago, October 7– November 3

  • 2007

    Masterworks of Chicago Imagism, Russell Bowman Art Advisory, Chicago, February 23–April 7

  • Bold Saboteurs: Collage and Construction in Chicago, Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago, April 6–May 12

  • Celebrating a Century of Art: Teaching from the Collection, Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College, Lynchburg, Virginia, September 1–December 7

  • The Art of Collecting, Flint Institute of Art, Michigan, November 23–December 30

  • Hairy Who (and Some Others), Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Wisconsin, October 13, 2007–January 6, 2008

  • 2006

    Art in Chicago: Resisting Regionalism, Transforming Modernism, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, February 4–April 2

  • Drawn Into the World: Drawings from the MCA Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, July 8–October 15

  • Full Frontal: The Dirty, Lewd, Erotic Show, Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago, July 14–August 26

  • Couples Discourse, Palmer Museum of Art, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, October 10–December 22

  • 2005

    Currents: 25 Years of Collecting Modern and Contemporary Prints, Block Museum, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, April 8–June 19

  • 2004

    Painting the Town Red, Jean Albano Gallery, Chicago, December 10, 2004–February 5, 2005

  • 2003

    The Ganzfeld Unbound, Adam Baumgold Gallery, New York, March 27–May 3

  • 2000

    The Likeness of Being: Contemporary Self Portraits by Sixty Women, DC Moore Gallery, New York, January 12–February 5

  • Chicago Loop: Imagist Art, 1949–1979, Whitney Museum of American Art at Champion, Stamford, Connecticut, September 15–December 6

Collections

  • Art Institute of Chicago

  • Brauer Museum of Art, Valparaiso University, Indiana

  • Kresge Art Museum, Michigan State University, Lansing

  • Los Angeles County Museum of Art

  • Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Wisconsin

  • Maier Museum of Art at Randolph College, Lynchburg, Virginia

  • Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois

  • Midwest Museum of American Art, Elkhart, Indiana

  • Milwaukee Art Museum

  • Minneapolis Institute of Art

Bibliography

  • BOOKS AND CATALOGUES

  • Ackland Art Museum, University of North Carolina. Some Recent Art from Chicago. Chapel Hill, NC: Ackland Art Museum, 1980.

  • Adrian, Dennis. Sight Out of Mind: Essays and Criticism on Art. Ann Arbor, MI: UMI Research Press, 1985.

  • Adrian, Dennis and Richard A. Born. The Chicago Imagist Print: Ten Artists’Works, 1958–1987. Chicago: David and Alfred Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, 1987.

  • Art Gallery, Bowling Green State University. Of New Account: Chicago Imagists. Bowling Green, OH: Bowling Green State University, 1987.

  • Art Gallery, Florida State University. Eleven Chicago Painters. Tallahassee, FL: Florida State University, 1980.

  • Art Gallery, Illinois Wesleyan University. Contemporary Chicago Imagists. Bloomington, IL: Illinois Wesleyan University, 1983.

  • Art Gallery, University of Northern Iowa. Contemporary Chicago Painters. Cedar Falls: University of Northern Iowa, 1978.

  • Art Institute of Chicago. 100 Artists, 100 Years: Alumni of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Chicago: The Art Institute of Chicago, 1979.

  • ———. 80th Annual Exhibition of Artists of Chicago and Vicinity. Chicago: The Art Institute of Chicago, 1967.