Private Eye: The Imagist Impulse in Chicago Art

Private Eye: The Imagist Impulse in Chicago Art
Museum Hours

In the mid-1960s, a cadre of adventurous young artists began exhibiting at the Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago.  With myriad influences from Surrealism and non-Western art to comic books and popular culture, their audacious, highly idiosyncratic, and personal approach set them apart from contemporaries working on either the East or West Coast.  By the mid-1970s, this loose-knit assembly was commonly referred to as the Imagists. Now, more than 50 years after their first appearance, the Chicago Imagists are regarded as among the most important postwar American artists. 

Private Eye: The Imagist Impulse in Chicago Art is focused on works by artists who comprise the original Imagist exhibition groups along with independent artists who shared their iconoclastic sensibility.  Also featured will be works by Chicago-based artists from the preceding generation, known as the Monster Roster, and a complementary selection of younger, Imagist-influenced artists.

The exhibition is drawn entirely from the collection of Drs. Michael Robertson and Christopher Slapak, one of the most comprehensive private collections of Chicago Imagist art, which has been promised to the IMA with some pieces already donated to the Museum.  

May 21-December 5, 2021
Indianapolis Museum of Art Galleries
Included with General Admission, free for members

Further Reading

For further reading on the Chicago Imagists, check out this biblioguide of books and resources available through The Indianapolis Public Library. 




This amply illustrated catalog surveys the work of the group of artists known as the Chicago Imagists, who exhibited together in the late 1960s, and whose influence continues to spread 50 years later. 


Roger Brown (American, 1941–1997), Chicago Hit By the Bomb, 1985, oil on canvas, 55 × 74 × 3 in. (framed). Indianapolis Museum of Art at Newfields, Promised Gift of Michael J. Robertson and Christopher A. Slapak, TR12054/12 © The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Brown family. Courtesy of Kavi Gupta and Venus Over Manhattan. 

Please pardon the petals! Florists are working hard installing masterpieces for Art in Bloom today, Tuesday, March 21st and tomorrow, Wednesday, March 22nd.