Gladys Nilsson’s career has followed her husband Jim Nutt’s and her distinct recognition is long overdue. Both had the same coming up as BFA graduates from SAIC, were exhibitors in the original Hairy Who exhibitions at the Hyde Park Art Center, began teaching future generations in 1968, and received honorary doctorate degrees from SAIC in 2016. Nilsson’s figures that are often hybridized with plants and other animals bring non-human colors and patterns onto humanoid figures and take on particular resonance with the art world’s present fixation on the Anthropocene. Two exhibitions in Chicago open this September, featuring work by Nilsson in context with her beginnings: The Time Is Now! Art Worlds of Chicago’s South Side, 1960-1980 at the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum of Art, and Hairy Who? 1966-1969 at the Art Institute of Chicago.
– Elliot Reichert