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Art Green

1970.295 Art Green
© Art Green
Also known as
Arthur Green
Date of birth

The son of a civil engineer, Art Green originally enrolled in the School of the Art Institute of Chicago as a design student but transferred to painting and drawing halfway through his first year.

Inspired by Chicago’s architectural and cultural fabric, his engagement with the political turmoil of the 1960s found its way into his work more overtly than that of any other fellow Hairy Who artist.

Soon after graduation, Green joined forces with five other recent graduates of the School of the Art Institute to form the Hairy Who in 1965. The six artists—Jim Falconer, Art Green, Gladys NilssonJim NuttSuellen Rocca, and Karl Wirsum—decided that the best way to find success was to exhibit their work together, and as the Hairy Who they began mounting unconventional displays of bright, bold graphic work in the mid-1960s. Over a period of four years they transformed the art landscape of Chicago, injecting their new and unique voices into the city’s rising national and international profile.

As a part of his artistic practice, Green collected reference materials including commercial signage, postcards, and magazine advertisements. He was attracted to their bold, ironic, and suggestive graphic statements, which he absorbed and reinterpreted in drawings, paintings, and prints.

Green uses line to portray three-dimensional forms. Flat planes of color, as well as volume, are conveyed with graphic conventions such as hatching. The complex spatial relationships and deep space of Green’s compositions distinguish his work from that of fellow Hairy Who artists. 

A 2018 exhibition at the Art Institute—the first-ever major survey dedicated solely to the Hairy Who—explored how the group’s distinct aesthetic transformed the art landscape of Chicago.

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