Art & Comics, 1960s to Present: HWCI Film Screening and Panel Discussion

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Claudia Cassidy Theater at the Chicago Cultural Center

78 E. Washington St.
2nd Floor North

Chicago, IL

Screening at 3 pm, Panel discussion at 5 pm

Panelists: Karl Wirsum, Chris Ware, and Dan Nadel. Discussion moderated by Robert Cozzolino.


***Seating is first come, first served. Guests who have already seen the film at a previous screening and would like to attend the panel discussion only will be admitted at 5 pm if seats remain.***

Join Pentimenti Productions and the City of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events for a free screening of Hairy Who & The Chicago Imagists followed by a special panel discussion on comics and humor in art. The Imagists were among the first artists to treat comics as artworks on par with their own. The comic books produced by the Hairy Who exhibition group in conjunction with their breakout shows at the Hyde Park Art Center in the late 1960s are a pioneering early example of the fine art possibilities in the comic medium. Unlike the detached, ironic use of comics imagery in the work of Pop Artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, the Imagists believed in the native genius of the comic strip’s iconography and technique. They adopted this vocabulary in their own work not as a form of cultural criticism, but because they saw it as an effective technique for emotional and aesthetic expression.  

Today, this reverence for the comics in the art world has become mainstream. This panel discussion will explore this facet of the Imagists' legacy and the role of comics and humor in 20th century art, from the Imagists’ era through the present day. Panelists include Karl Wirsum, a member of the original Hairy Who exhibition group; Chris Ware, contemporary graphic novelist; and Dan Nadel, publisher, author, curator, and artist. The panel will be moderated by Robert Cozzolino, a historian and Philadelphia-based curator whose research interests include 20th century Chicago art, Pop Art, and underrepresented artists.

For more information visit the Chicago Cultural Center website: and

Discussion Participants


Robert Cozzolino has been the Senior Curator and Curator of Modern Art at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts since 2004. He earned his Ph.D in 2006 from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a dissertation on Ivan Albright and his research interests range from the intersection of art and religion to the role of the body in Pop Art. Dr. Cozzolino has organized numerous exhibitions for PAFA, including: “Vik Muniz: Remastered” (2005), “Art in Chicago: Resisting Regionalism, Transforming Modernism” (2006), “Jacob Lawrence's Hiroshima” (2008), “George Tooker: A Retrospective” (2009), “Elizabeth Osborne: The Color of Light” (2009), “Narcissus in the Studio: Artist Portraits and Self-Portraits” (2010), “After Tanner: African-American Artists Since 1940” (2012), “The Female Gaze: Women Artists Making Their World” (2012), "David Lynch: The Unified Field" (2014), and "Peter Blume: Nature and Metamorphosis" (2014-15). With Maggie Taft he is co-editing and co-authoring the first single-volume history of Chicago art from the 19th-century through the present, to be published by the University of Chicago Press in 2018. A champion of underrepresented artists and uncommon perspectives on well-known artists, Dr. Cozzolino has been called the “curator of the dispossessed” for his attention to the underdog.


Karl Wirsum lives and works in Chicago. He is an Adjunct Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Wirsum participated in the landmark “Hairy Who” exhibitions at the Hyde Park Art Center with a vibrant generation of young Chicago artists in the 1960s. In 2007, the Chicago Cultural Center organized “Winsome Works(Some): Career Retrospective,” which traveled to the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and Herron School of Art and Design, Indianapolis. He has participated in group exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; Milwaukee Art Museum; Nelson Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City; Renaissance Society, Chicago; Camden Arts Centre, London; Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston; and many others.


Chris Ware (graphic novelist) Chris Ware is the author of "Jimmy Corrigan – the Smartest Kid on Earth," which received the Guardian First Book Award, was included in the 2002 Whitney Biennial of American Art, and deemed one of Amazon’s “100 Books to Read in a Lifetime” in 2014.  His most recent book "Building Stories" was voted a 2012 Top Ten Book of the Year by the New York Times, Time Magazine and the best book of the year by Publishers Weekly. A regular contributor to The New Yorker, he guest-edited the 13th issue of “McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern” and was the first cartoonist chosen to regularly serialize an ongoing story in The New York Times Magazine. His work has been the focus of solo exhibits at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Gävle Konstcentrum in Gävle, Sweden, as well as regular exhibitions at the Adam Baumgold Gallery in New York and the Galerie Martel in Paris.

“There’s no writer alive whose work I love more than Chris Ware. The only problem is it takes him ten years to draw these things and then I read them in a day and have to wait another ten years for the next one.”—Zadie Smith


Dan Nadel (publisher, artist, writer, and curator) Dan Nadel has authored books including Art Out of Time: Unknown Comic Visionaries,1900–1969; Gary Panter; Art in Time: Unknown Comic Book Adventures, 1940–1980 and coauthored (with Norman Hathaway) Electrical Banana: Masters of Psychedelic Art and Dorothy and Otis: Designing the American Dream. He is the coeditor of The Comics Journal, and has published essays and criticism in The Washington Post, Frieze, and Bookforum. As a curator, he has mounted exhibitions including: “What Nerve! Alternative Figures in American Art, 1960 to the present” at the RISD Museum of Art in Providence, RI; “Return of the Repressed: Destroy All Monsters 1973–1977” in Los Angeles; “Karl Wirsum: Drawings 1967–1970” in New York; the first major Jack Kirby retrospective, “The House that Jack Built” in Lucerne, Switzerland; and “Macronauts” for the Athens 2007 Biennale in Greece. He is also the founder of PictureBox, a Grammy Award-winning publishing company. Dan is the Key Account Sales Director of Artbook | D.A.P.

This program is made possible through support from the Terra Foundation for American Art.