The daughter of Swedish immigrants, Gladys Nilsson was born in Chicago in 1940. From an early age, Nilsson exhibited artistic gifts. First as an elementary school student and then as a teenager, she took classes at the Art Institute of Chicago. After high school, she became a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Following her graduation, Nilsson teamed with five other SAIC recent grads to form the Hairy Who. The group staged exhibitions of their own art which the New York Times described as coming together “under the sway of influences as disparate as Dubuffet, Native American art, hand-painted store signs, the Sears catalog and the natural-history displays at the Field Museum to create a rambunctious form of painting and sculpture that tacked hard against prevailing orthodoxies.” Nilsson has had many solo exhibitions including one at the Whitney Museum of American Art, the first woman to do so. She has taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her work is featured in museums around the world.
Why this stop? The Brown Line Southport stop serves the Lakeview neighborhood where Nilsson grew up.
See some of Nilsson’s selected works.
Photograph: Wm. H. Bengtson. Courtesy of Pentimenti Productions