By: KATE LUCE
After being invited to a gallery visit, Laura Cutler, painting and drawing professor, took the class to the Lubeznik Center for the Arts to attend a talk on the Chicago Imagists, their predecessors and those who took inspiration from them.
“The reason I decided to approach Painting 1 and 2 with the possibility for this field trip was because at first, I got feedback. I presented the idea that the Chicago Imagists show is a really important show for the region and for art education in terms of Northern Indiana, becoming aware of what happened with the art world and artists right out of Chicago … Having that art education and experience is important,” Cutler said.
Lora Fosberg, Exhibition Director, led the class and community members throughout the gallery, speaking in-depth about each one of the pieces and the artists who made them.
The Chicago Imagists were a group of artists who embraced outsider art. Their work is from the 1960s and 1970s. Although most were classically trained, all of these artists had a particular, aggressive style they stuck to.
These artists were unapologetically themselves, and they used nontraditional materials and made subject matter on American culture that has not been said before. They were inspired by what was considered “low art:” tattoos, television, fame and pure emotions.
The Chicago Imagists were open to spreading their ideas to one another, bringing other lesser known artists into the limelight. Take for example, Lee Godie, a prolific Chicago artist without a formal training. She would stand on the steps of the Art Institute, selling her art to people who would pass by that she liked. She would dance, sing or convinced the museum-goer to purchase her work.
The Lubeznik Center for the Arts showed work from prolific artists Ivan Albright, Rodger Brown, Jim Nutt, Ed Pastche, and Jeff Koons. As well as lesser known artists who had just as big of an impact on this movement.
Their work is regarded to some as ugly, but for some students, it was an interesting take to work they are familiar with in galleries and museums.
“I felt like that show, specifically, was inspiring because of how out there [the artists] were compared to traditional art. [The show] definitely gave me a lot more confidence because my art is outside of traditional art,” Kristen Cook, BFA Graphic design, said.
Others said that the mediums that these artists used validated their work.
“It is nice to see these artists, who I never knew about previously and who have ‘made it.’ It’s nice to see different mediums and styles. You see all these high, fancy oil paintings [in museums], but I don’t like oil painting. I like drawing, watercolor and seeing other watercolor artists make it who aren’t just campy or low art. It feels good to see there is recognition for that,” Arin Ciulla, BFA Drawing and Painting and Art Education major, said.
This exhibition will continue to be on display at the Lubeznik Center for the Arts until Oct. 19. After this exhibition, Living Architecture will have its opening reception on Nov. 9. The Lubeznik Center for the Arts is located at 101 W. 2nd St. in Michigan City, In. The gallery is open weekdays from 10-5 p.m. and weekends 10-4 p.m.