Karl Wirsum

Karl Wirsum, as part of the Hairy Who group in the early 1960s developed a style that combines a graphic sensibility–vivid, flat colors, simplified cartoon-like figures–with a sense of humor evident in the works themselves and also in titles that second guess and play with words. Wirsum’s imaginary creatures and super hero characters enact bizarre scenes. Figures from outer space perform domestic tasks such as mowing the lawn; space men happily orbit starry objects. His work exists in the buffer zone between real and imaginary, mundane domesticity and super hero powers, day-to-day existence and daydreams. Wirsum currently lives in Chicago.

BORN
1939 in Chicago
RESIDES
Chicago, Illinois, Professor, School of the Art Institute Chicago
EDUCATION
1961 BFA, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL

SOLO EXHIBITIONS

2010 Jean Albano Gallery, Chicago, IL
2010 Derek Eller Gallery, New York, NY
2008 Karl Wirsum: Paintings & Prints, Contemporary Art Center of Peoria, Peoria, IL
2007-8 Winsome Works(some), Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, IL; Madison Museum of Contemporary
Art, WI; Herron Galleries, Indiana University-Perdue University, Indianapolis, IN
2007 Karl Wirsum: Plays Missed It For You, Jean Albano Gallery, Chicago, IL
2006 The Wirsum-Gunn Family Show, Jean Albano Gallery, Chicago, IL
2005 Union Art Gallery, University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI
2004 Hello Again Boom A Rang: Ten Years of Wirsum Art, Jean Albano Gallery, Chicago, IL
2002 Paintings and Cutouts, Quincy Art Center, Quincy, IL
Jean Albano Gallery, Chicago, IL
2001 Rockford College Gallery, Rockford, IL
2000 Jean Albano Gallery, Chicago, IL
1998 Jean Albano Gallery, Chicago, IL
University Club of Chicago, Chicago, IL
1997 The University of Iowa Museum of Art, Sculpture Court, Iowa City, Iowa
1994 Phyllis Kind Gallery, Chicago, IL
J. Maddux Parker Gallery, Sacramento, CA
1992 Phyllis Kind Gallery, Chicago, IL
1991 Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign,
Champaign, IL
1989 Phyllis Kind Gallery, Chicago, IL
1988 Phyllis Kind Gallery, Chicago, IL
Phyllis Kind Gallery, New York, NY
College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn, IL
1986 Phyllis Kind Gallery, Chicago, IL
Phyllis Kind Gallery, New York, NY
1984 Phyllis Kind Gallery, Chicago, IL
1983 Phyllis Kind Gallery, New York, NY
1982 Phyllis Kind Gallery, Chicago, IL
Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, NC
1981 Phyllis Kind Gallery, Chicago, IL
Hare Toddy Kong Tamari: Selected Objects by Karl Wirsum, Museum of
Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL
1980 Phyllis Kind Gallery, Chicago, IL
1979 Phyllis Kind Gallery, New York, NY
1978 Phyllis Kind Gallery, Chicago, IL
1977 Phyllis Kind Gallery, New York, NY
1976 Phyllis Kind Gallery, Chicago, IL
1971 Wabash Transit Gallery, Chicago, IL
1970 St. Xavier College, Chicago, IL
1967 Dell Gallery, Chicago, IL

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

2013 Wild, Jean Albano Gallery, Chicago, IL
2012 Sinister Pop, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
The Invitational Exhibition of Visual Arts, American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York, NY
Re-Source, Jean Albano Gallery, IL
Objets Extraordinaire, , Highland Park Art Center, Highland Park, IL
2011 : Hypercolon :, SMART Project Space, Amsterdam
Chicago Imagists, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Madison, WI
Works on Paper: Selections from the Elmhurst College Collection, Elmhurst Art Museum, Elmhurst, IL
DRAWN, Adam Baumgold Gallery, New York, NY
Pretty on the Inside, Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York, NY
The Paper Show, Jean Albano Gallery, Chicago, IL
Play Ball, Lancaster Museum of Art, Lancaster, PA
The Art of Collecting, the Flint Institute of Arts, Flint, MI
2009 Cool! Cool! Cool! Cool!, Jean Albano Gallery, Chicago, IL
2008 The Baseball Show, Jean Albano Gallery, Chicago, IL
2008-7 On Line, Adam Baumgold Gallery, New York, NY
2006 Drawn into the World, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL
The Artful Jester, The Painting Center, New York, NY & Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, Brattleboro, VT
181st Annual: An Invitational Exhibition of Contemporary American Art, National Academy of Design, New York, NY
2003-6 Faces, Places, & Inner Spaces, Art Institute of Chicago, IL
2005 The Cartoonist’s Eye, A + D Gallery, Colombia College, Chicago, IL
25th Anniversary Show, Block Museum, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
Next in the Gallery: Karl Wirsum, Paul Lurie, & Hans Richter, Herron Gallery, Indiana University Perdue University Indianapolis, Indianapolis, IN
The John Cain Sideshow, Carl Hammer Gallery, Chicago, IL
2004-05 Painting the Town Red, Jean Albano Gallery, Chicago, IL
2004 Out of the Blues, Jean Albano Gallery, Chicago, IL
From Folk to Funk: Selections from the Robert A. Lewis Collection, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC
That 70s Show, Northern Indiana Arts Association, Munster, IN
The Artist as Collector, Northern Indiana Arts Association, Munster, IN
2003 The Ganzfeld (unbound), Adam Baumgold Gallery, New York, NY
January White Sale, Jean Albano Gallery, Chicago, IL
Scape of the Land, Sisson Art Gallery, Henry Ford Community College, Dearborn, MI
Chicago Artists in the New Millennium, Union League Club of Chicago, IL
2002 Made in Chicago: Circa 1970, Adam Baumgold Gallery, New York, NY
Absolut Vision VII: Contemporary Views of Nature, Jean Albano Gallery, Chicago, IL
2001 The Lopsided Grin: Facing the New Century, Williard Wankelman Gallery, Fine Art Center Galleries, Bowling Green State University
Reflections: Fifteenth Anniversary Exhibition, Jean Albano Gallery, Chicago, IL
2000 Chicago Loop: Imagist Art 1949-1979, Whitney Museum of American Art, Fairfield County, CT
Jumping Jack Backflash, Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago, IL; Northern Illinois Art Association, Munster, IN
The Figure: Another Side of Modernism, Snug Harbor Cultural Center, New House Center for Contemporary Art, Staten Island, NY
1999 Chicago Subjects, Laura Mesaros Gallery, U. of West Virginia, Morgantown, W.VA
Primary Colors, Jean Albano Gallery, Chicago, IL
1998 Making Marks, Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI
Roger Brown and Friends in the 90’s, Van Every/Smith Galleries, Davidson College Visual Arts Center, Davidson, NC
1997 Breadth of Aesthetic, Phyllis Kind Gallery, Chicago, IL
1997 Grins: Humor and Whimsy in Contemporary Art, Millard Sheets Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
1996 Art in Chicago: 1945-1995, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL
Second Sight: Modern Printmaking in Chicago, Block Gallery,
Northwestern University, Evanston, IL
Dealer’s Choice: 25 Chicago Dealers Bring Their Art to Indiana,
Northern Indiana Arts Association, Munster, IN
Arts Center 10th Anniversary: Illinois Artists, College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn, IL
1995 Off the Wall, Phyllis Kind Gallery, Chicago, IL
Phyllis Kind Gallery Revisited, The Foster Gallery, University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire, WI
1993 Chicago Art Festival, The Union League Club, Chicago, IL
Imagery: Incongruous Juxtapositions, Phyllis Kind Gallery, Chicago, IL
1992 From America’s Studio: Drawing New Conclusions, The School of the ArtInstitute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Illinois Painter’s Invitational, Western Illinois University Art Gallery, Macomb, IL
The Chicago Imagists: Art with an Edge To It, Land’s End Gallery, Dodgeville, WI
N.A.M.E.’s 11th Annual Saint Valentine’s Day Exhibition and Benefit
Auction, N.A.M.E. Gallery, Chicago, IL
1991-3 Spirited Visions: Portraits of Chicago Artists by Patty Carroll, The State of Illinois Art Gallery and traveling exhibition
1991-2 Zero Gravity, Citibank, Long Island City, NY
1990-1 Word as Image/American Art 1960-1990, Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, WI, traveling to Oklahoma City Art Museum, OK; Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX
Portraits of a Kind, Phyllis Kind Gallery, Chicago, IL
1991 Figuration, Pfizer Inc., New York, NY
Zero Gravity, Citibank, New York, NY
1990 1990 Drawing Invitational/29 Chicago Artists, Central Washington
University, Sarah Spurgeon Gallery, Ellensburg, WA
Cast, Constructed, and Site-Specific Paper Works, The Paine Art Centerand Arboretum
California A to Z and Return, The Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, OH
1989-90 Chicago Painters in Print: Brown, Paschke, Hull, Lostutter, Pasin-Sloan, Bramson, Wirsum, Landfall Press, Chicago, IL
1989 Human Concern/Personal Torment-Revisited, Phyllis Kind Gallery, New York, NY and Chicago, IL
Birthday Cake, 50th Anniversary Exhibition, Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, IL
1988 Seymour Rosofsky and the Chicago Imagist Tradition, The Milwaukee Art Museum at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI
1987-88 Contemporary Cutouts: Figurative Sculpture in Two Dimensions, Whitney Museum of American Art, NY
1987 Friday Diego: Una Pareja, The Prairie Avenue Gallery, Chicago, Illinois – organized by Artemisia Gallery, Chicago, IL
Made in the U.S.A..: An Americanization in Modern Art. the 50’s and 60’s,University of California at Berkley, and traveled to Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO, Virginia Museum of Art, Richmond, VA
Urgent Messages, The Chicago Public Library Cultural Center, Chicago, IL
Of New Account: The Chicago Imagists, The School of Art Gallery, Bowling Green State University, OH
Surfaces: Two Decades of Painting in Chicago – Seventies and Eighties, Terra Museum of American Art, Chicago, IL
1987-92 Diamonds are Forever: Artists and Writers on Baseball, New York State Museum, Albany, NY and traveling exhibition: Norton Gallery of Are, West Palm Beach, FL; Museum of Art and History, San Juan, Puerto Rico; Contemporary Arts center, Cincinnati, OH; Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Salt Lake City UT; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX,; Baltimore Museum of Art, MD; Chicago Public Library Cultural Center, Chicago, IL; Oakland Museum of Art, CA; New York Public Library, New York, NY; The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA; San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, La Jolla, CA: Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Winston Salem, NC; The Skydome, Toronto, Canada; Yurakucho Art Forum/Seibu Department Store, Tokyo, Japan; The
Taipei Fine Arts Museum, Taipei, Taiwan; Denver Art Museum/Downtown Branch, Denver, CO;
Scottsdale Center for the Arts, Scottsdale, AZ; Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY.
1987 Drawings of the Chicago Imagists, Renaissance Society of the University of Chicago
The Chicago Imagist Print: Ten Artists’ Works, 1958-1987, The David and Alfred Smart Gallery, The University of Chicago
1986-87 Biennial Ill, Contemporary Arts Center, Cincinnati, OH and traveling; Cleveland Institute of Art; Herron Gallery of Contemporary Art, Indianapolis, IN; Cranbrook Academy of Art Museum, MI
1986 Komic Ikonoclasin, I.C.A. Gallery, London, England and traveling exhibition
Sculpture Exhibition, Phyllis Kind Gallery, NY
Art in Paper, Swen Parson Gallery, Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, IL
1985-86 Correspondences: New York Art Now, Laforet Museum, Tokyo, Japan and traveling exhibition; Tochigi Prefectural Museum of Fine Art, Tochigi, Japan; Tasaki Hall, Espace Media, Kobe, Japan
1985 Modern Masks, The Whitney Museum of American Art at Phillip Morris, New York, NY
Bases are Loaded, Gallery 53, Cooperstown, NY
Wood Hue or Knot?, Phyllis Kind Gallery, Chicago, IL
Works on Paper, Morgan Gallery, Kansas City, MO
1984 Visions of Childhood: A Contemporary Iconography, Whitney Museum of Art at Federal Hall, New York, NY
80th Exhibition by Artists of Chicago and Vicinity, Art Institute of Chicago, IL
10 Years of Collecting at the M.C.A., Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL Chicago Cross-Section, Trisolini Gallery, University of Ohio at Athens, OH
Small But Hot, Burpee Art Museum, Rockford, IL
Chicago Imagist Update, Phyllis Kind Gallery, Chicago, IL
Contemporary Works on Paper, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, TN
Heads, Randolph Street Gallery, Chicago, IL
Artists’ Call Against Nicaragua, Artemisia Gallery, Chicago, IL
The Museum of Contemporary Art Selects: Paintings and Sculptures From Chicago’s Best, The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL
Joseph Yoakum, His Influence on Contemporary Art and Artists, Carl Hammer Gallery, Chicago, IL
1983 Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, Ed Paschke, Suellen Rocca, Karl Wirsum, Gallery Bonnier, Geneva, Switzerland
Marathon ‘83, International Running Center, New York Road Runners Club, NY
The Comic Art Show, Whitney Museum of Art At Federal Hall, New York, NY
Chicago Scene, Mandeville Art Gallery, University of California at San Diego, CA
1983 The Last Laugh, Southern Ohio Museum and Cultural Center, Portsmouth, OH, and
traveling exhibition
Festival of the Arts, Muhlenberg College, Allentown, PA
The Big Pitcher Show: Twenty Years of the Abstracted Figure in Chicago Art, Hyde
Park Art Center, Chicago, IL
Fans/ Invitational Exhibit for the Benefit of the Hyde Park Art Center, Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, IL
1982-83 Dialect=Dialectic: A Group Show of Artists With Complex and Individual Vocabularies, Phyllis Kind Galleries, New York, NY and Chicago, IL
1982 Paintings and Sculpture Today, Indianapolis Museum of Art, IN
Chicago on Paper, Ray Hughes Gallery, Brisbane, Australia
Chicago Images, Kansas City Art Institute, MO, Saginaw Museum of Art, Saginaw MI
Hot Chicago, Douglas Drake Gallery, Kansas City, KS
From Chicago, Pace Gallery, New York, NY
Selections From the Dennis Adrian Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL
1980-82 Who Chicago? An Exhibition of Contemporary Imagists, Sunderland Arts Centre, Ceolfrith Gallery, London, England; and traveling to Camden Arts Centre; London; Third Eye Centre, Glasgow; The Scottish National Gallery, Edinburg Scotland; The Welsh Arts Council, Glynvivian Gallery, Swansea, Wales; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, MA; Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans, LA
1981 Figuratively Sculpting, Institute for Art and Urban Resources at P.S. 1 Gallery, Long Island, NY
New Dimensions in Drawing, The Aldrich Museum, Ridgefield, Connecticut
The Broken Surface, Bennington College, Vermont; Tibor de Nagy Gallery, NY; Virginia Technical Institute, Blacksberg, Virginia
50 Works of Art That Shouldn’t Leave Madison, Madison Art Center, Wisconsin
1980 Contemporary Drawings and Watercolors, Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester, New York
Six Artists From Chicago, The Ackland Museum of Art, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; San Diego Museum of Art, California
1980 Seen in Chicago, Illinois Bell Gallery, Chicago, IL
1979 Art, Inc. – American Paintings from Corporate Collections, Montgomery Museum of Fine Art, Alabama; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indiana
Painters From New York Galleries, James Madison University, Harrisburg, Virginia; Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia; Roanoke College. Salem, Virginia
Chicago Currents: The Koffler Foundation, The National Collection of Fine Arts, Washington DC
Material Pleasures, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, and Philadelphia, PA
1978 Contemporary Chicago Painters, University of Northern Iowa Gallery of Art,
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Eleven Chicago Painters, University of Southern Florida Gallery of Art, Tallahassee
Chicago Collects, Northern Illinois University Gallery 200, Dekalb, IL
1977 Masterpieces of Chicago Art, Chicago Public Library Cultural Center, Chicago, IL
1976-77 The Chicago Connection, E.B. Crocker Art Gallery, Sacramento and traveling exhibition to Newport Harbor Art Museum, Newport , California; Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, AZ; Brooks Memorial Art Gallery, Memphis, Tennessee; Memorial Art
Gallery, University of Rochester, NY
1976 Old and New Works by the Artists From the Phyllis Kind Gallery, Foster Gallery, University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire
100 Artists/100 Years: Alumni of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
1975 Art Now, Artrend Foundation, John F. Kennedy Center, Washington, DC
1974 75th Exhibition of Artists of Chicago and the Vicinity, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
1973-74 XII Bienal de Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo , Brazil and traveling throughout South America (an enlarged exhibition entitled Made In Chicago was installed at the National Collection of Fine Arts, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL)
1973 Cook County Art Machine, Evanston Art Center, Evanston, IL
1972-73 What They’re Up To In Chicago, The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario and traveling exhibition
1972 Chicago Imagist Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL; New York Cultural Center, New York
1971 Chicago Antigua, Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, IL
Phyllis’ Teens, Phyllis Kind Gallery, Chicago, IL
1970 Surplus Slop from the Windy City, San Francisco Art Center; Sacramento State College of Art, CA
Marriage Chicago Style, Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, IL
Thirteen Artists from Chicago, Richard Feigan Gallery, New York, NY
1969-71 The Spirit of the Comics, Institute of Contemporary Art, University of Pennsylvania, PA
1969-70 Human Concern/Personal Torment, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
1969 Don Baum Sez ‘Chicago Needs Famous Artists,’ Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL
The Hairy Who: Drawings, The School of the Visual Arts Gallery, New York, NY
da Hairy Who?, Dupont Center, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.
1968 Now! Hairy Makes You Smell Good, Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, IL
Biennial, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
1966-67 The Hairy Who? Hyde Park ARt Center, Chicago, IL
COMMISSIONS
2000 Sculpture, Dawn Foods Corporation, Munster, INInstallation, Midway Airport Terminal, Chicago, IL 1998 Cut-Out, Playboy.com, Chicago, IL 1997 Mural, University of Iowa Sports and Recreation Center, Iowa City, IA 1991 Mural, Plug Bug, City of Chicago Public Arts Program, Commonwealth Edison Dearborn Substation, Chicago, ILInstallation, City of Chicago Public Arts Program, Harold Washington Library, Chicago, IL 1988 Mural, The First National Bank of Chicago, IL
SELECTED COLLECTIONS
Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Madison, WI
American Medical Association, Chicago, ILAmerican Telephone & Telegraph, New York, NYArt Institute of Chicago, Chicago, ILArthur Anderson Co., Chicago, ILBall State University, Muncie, INBrauer Museum of Art, Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, INChase Manhattan Bank, New York, NYChazen Museum of Art, Madison, WIDePaul Art Museum, Chicago, IL
Elmhurst College, Elmhurst, ILElvehjem Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI

First National Bank of Chicago, Chicago, IL

The Illinois Collection for the State of Illinois Center, Chicago, IL

Illinois State Museum, Springfield, IL

Kalamazoo Institute of Art, Kalamazoo, MI

Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois, Champaign, IL

Kresge Art Museum, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI

Midwest Museum of American Art, Elkhart, IN

Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL

Museum des 20, Jahrhunderts, Vienna

National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C.

Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, IL

David and Alfred Smart Gallery, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL

Weatherspoon Art Gallery, University of North Carolina, Greensboro, NC

Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY