In 1959 artist and critic Franz Schulze dubbed a group of Chicago-based artists “the Monster Roster,” inspired by Leon Golub’s late 1940s images of distended, encrusted figures. The Monster Roster’s overtly psychological paintings, sculpture, and prints drew on classical mythology and art, as well as German Expressionism, to offer a biting critique of human nature. Despite being one of the most important Midwestern contributions to the development of American art, the significance of the Monster Roster has been largely overlooked. This exhibition brings together paintings, sculpture, and works on paper from the Smart Museum to examine the aesthetics of Golub and his compatriots—including Dominick DiMeo, Cosmo Campoli, June Leaf, Seymour Rosofsky, and Nancy Spero. It also sheds light on the group’s relationships with preceding generations of Chicago artists, as well as its influences on the well-known Chicago Imagists, who followed.
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