The compulsion to collect was a passion shared by many of the Chicago Imagists, who regularly drew inspiration from found objects, ranging from comic books to folk art figurines. These artists, who were famous for criss-crossing the wires of high art and popular culture, offer an opportune gateway for thinking about the practice of collecting vis-à-vis art making.
In Suzanne Simpson’s long-lost gem Karl Wirsum, recently digitally restored by Pentimenti Productions, the titular artist muses on the influence of mass-produced toys and the work of self-taught artists while fashioning marionettes that blur the line between fine art objects and ludic playthings. The Individuality of the Inanimate Object, directed by Seton Coggeshall, examines the prolific collection of artist, teacher, and Maxwell St. Market enthusiast Ray Yoshida, which included dolls, African masks, garments handmade by Japanese farmers, and more.
Tom Palazzolo’s At Maxwell Street offers a window onto Chicago’s historic bustling flea market, home to a treasure trove of miscellaneous trinkets and ephemera that served as a creative catalyst for many of the Imagists. Tom Palazzolo will be joined in conversation by Lisa Stone, Curator of the Roger Brown Study Collection at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Brown, a student of Yoshida’s, amassed a diverse collection featuring artwork by fellow Imagists, vinyl LPs, and religious icons, that has been faithfully kept intact for visitors to explore in the form of a home museum and gallery. Panel moderated by Pentimenti Executive Director, Harrison Sherrod.