I’ll Show You! Posters and Promos from Chicago’s Famous Artists highlights a recent gift of gallery posters from the collection of Gladys Nilsson and Jim Nutt—two artists of the Hairy Who—as well as supplemental ephemera from the special collections of the Ryerson and Burnham Libraries and the Art Institute of Chicago. This display complements Hairy Who? 1966–1969, which is the first major exhibition dedicated to the Hairy Who—the self-named group of six Chicago artists who graduated from the School of the Art Institute and began exhibiting in the city in the mid-1960s. As the Hairy Who, Jim Falconer, Art Green, Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, Suellen Rocca, and Karl Wirsum transformed the art landscape of Chicago through their groundbreaking and unconventional work.
The Hairy Who artists treated promotional materials as a key part of their exhibitions. Items that are generally considered ephemeral—including comic books, posters, magazine advertisements, buttons, decals, and postcards—not only served as source material for artworks but were produced by the artists themselves to be treated as art objects. Nilsson and Nutt have amassed, preserved, and now given their collection of such materials to the Art Institute, effectively acting as archivists for their fellow artists and friends.