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Grads in the Galleries

Cue up Pomp and Circumstance and the inspirational (if sometimes provocative) speeches—it’s graduation season! What better time to recognize the many celebrated artists who matriculated and earned degrees from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago? The list is long and impressive and includes recognizable names from various fields: fashion designer Cynthia Rowley ('81), artist/author Audrey Niffennegger ('85), and writers David Sedaris ('87) and Sarah Vowell ('99), to name a few. Here we highlight a just few of illustrious SAIC alum through works held in the Art Institute’s collection.

Archibald John Motley ('18)

Ivan Albright ('23)
(You can experience more than 30 of Albright’s eerie works in the current exhibition Flesh: Ivan Albright at the Art Institute of Chicago.)

Joan Mitchell ('47)

Richard Hunt (‘57)

Elizabeth Murray ('62)

The Hairy Who: Karl Wirsum (‘61), Gladyss Nilsson (‘62), Suellen Rocca (‘64), Jim Falconer (‘65), Art Green (‘65), and Jim Nutt (‘65)
(The museum will be presenting Hairy Who? 1966–1969, the first retrospective devoted to the radical art collective this fall, September 27, 2018–January 6, 2019.)


Archibald John Motley, Jr. Nightlife, 1943. Restricted gift of Mr. and Mrs. Marshall Field, Jack and Sandra Guthman, Ben W. Heineman, Ruth Horwich, Lewis and Susan Manilow, Beatrice C. Mayer, Charles A. Meyer, John D. Nichols, and Mr. and Mrs. E.B. Smith, Jr.; James W. Alsdorf Memorial Fund; Goodman Endowment. © Valerie Gerrard Browne / Chicago History Museum / Bridgeman Images.

Ivan Albright. Into the World There Came a Soul Called Ida, 1929–30. Gift of Ivan Albright. © The Art Institute of Chicago.

Joan Mitchell. City Landscape, 1955. Gift of Society for Contemporary American Art. © The Estate of Joan Mitchell.

Richard Hunt. Hero Construction, 1958. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Arnold H. Maremont. © Richard Hunt.

Elizabeth Murray. Back on Earth, 1981. Restricted gift of Solomon B. Smith; Twentieth-Century Discretionary Fund. © 1981 Elizabeth Murray.

Hairy Who (James Falconer, Art Green, Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, Suellen Rocca, and Karl Wirsum). The Portable Hairy Who!, 1966. Gift of Gladys Nilsson and Jim Nutt. © James Falconer, Art Green, Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, Suellen Rocca, and Karl Wirsum.