In Realms of the Unreal: The Life and Work of Henry Darger

This exhibition showcased illustrations by the posthumously discovered outsider artist Henry Darger alongside paraphernalia from the artist studio. The exhibited watercolors and works on paper illustrated Darger’s 15,145-page, single-spaced fantasy manuscript called The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinnian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion on which the artist has been working all his life. The show at Hyde Park Art Center happened only 3 years after the artist’s death and the discovery of his extraordinary artistic practice. It was the first of many solo and group exhibits of Darger’s work across a plethora of major art institutions. In the exhibition, watercolors and pencil on paper works, many including collages and handwritten annotations were juxtaposed with magazine photos, cartoons, newspaper clippings and fragments of coloring book pages found in the artist studio. Darger’s handwritten manuscripts were exhibited alongside monster portraits, the artist’s fictional “military” maps and other typed bound books. His illustrations, according to the exhibition curator, were and are, “engrossing examples of an aggressive kind of art which selects and adopts outside source material for an expressive personal statement.”

  • September 25, 1977 – November 5, 1977
  • Blackstone Avenue Building