Karl Wirsum

decade

1930s

1939

Karl Wirsum is born in Chicago.

decade

1940s

mid-1940s 1947

Karl Wirsum attends Saturday classes at the Art Institute of Chicago as a child.

decade

1950s

1957

Karl Wirsum is awarded a full ride to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC).

decade

1960s

1961

Karl Wirsum earns his BFA from SAIC.

1962–92 1962

Roy De Forest often hangs out at Adeliza McHugh’s Candy Store Gallery, where Nut artists and Hairy Who artists gather.

1965

Five recent SAIC graduates including Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, and Karl Wirsum coin the term Hairy Who while working on a title for their group exhibition at the Hyde Park Art Center. The name is in reference to Chicago radio station WFMT’s art critic Harry Bouras.

late 1960s 1965

Don Baum recommends that Karl Wirsum be included in the exhibition Jim Nutt has proposed for the Hyde Park Art Center.

1966

The first Hairy Who exhibition opens at the Hyde Park Art Center and includes work from Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, and Karl Wirsum.

1967

The Hairy Who group, including Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, and Karl Wirsum, have their second exhibition at the Hyde Park Art Center.

1968

Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, and Karl Wirsum are included in the exhibition Now! Hairy Who Makes You Smell Good at the Hyde Park Art Center. It travels to the San Francisco Art Institute.

1969

Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, and Karl Wirsum are included in the group exhibition Don Baum Says: "Chicago Needs Famous Artists" at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

decade

1970s

1970

Gladys Nilsson and Karl Wirsum are included in the group exhibition Surplus Slop from the Windy City at the San Francisco Art Institute. Wirsum creates a poster for the exhibition.

1970–2005 1970

Stephen Kaltenbach teaches at California State University, Sacramento, where Jim Nutt and Karl Wirsum also teach.

1971

Karl Wirsum moves to the West to escape the Chicago Imagists’ newfound fame. During this time he teaches at Sacramento State College.

1970s 1971

Karl Wirsum meets Roy De Forest in California and feels an “affinity” for his work.

1972

Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, and Karl Wirsum are included in the group exhibition Chicago Imagist Art at MCA Chicago.

1970s 1975

Karl Wirsum teaches at SAIC. Aaron Curry cites Wirsum as an important figure for him.

1978

Karl Wirsum, Icabod Cranes His Neck in Plumb Thumb Bumper Tag, 1978. Airbrushed acrylic on canvas; canvas: 35 × 25 7/8 × ¾ in. (91.4 × 65.7 × 1.9 cm). Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift of The Robert A. Lewis Fund in honor of William and Polly Levey, 1982.9. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.

decade

1980s

1981

Karl Wirsum has a solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago titled Hare Toddy Kong Tamari: Selected Objects by Karl Wirsum.

decade

2000s

2000

Aaron Curry attends SAIC and receives his BFA in 2002 alongside friend and classmate Sterling Ruby. Curry fondly remembers teachers Barbara Rossi and Karl Wirsum.

decade

2010s

2011

Jim Nutt has a solo exhibition at MCA Chicago titled Jim Nutt: Coming Into Character. It is accompanied by Seeing Is a Kind of Thinking: A Jim Nutt Companion, which included works by Nutt, Aaron Curry, Mike Kelley, Bruce Nauman, Gladys Nilsson, and Karl Wirsum.

2017

Aaron Curry organizes the group exhibition Press your space face close to mine, featuring Karl Wirsum, at The PIT in Los Angeles.

2018

Jim Nutt, Gladys Nilsson, and Karl Wirsum are included in the group exhibition Hairy Who? 1966–1969 at the Art Institute of Chicago.

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