Henry Darger's Orphans and the Construction of Race

Friday, Jul 14, 2017 – Jan 7, 2018 5:30 – 8:30 pm

756 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60642

July 14, 2017-January 7, 2018
Opening Reception: Friday, July 14, 5:30-8:30pm
Curated by Jaimy Magdalena Mann

Intuit’s exhibition Henry Darger’s Orphans and the Construction of Race centers on Darger’s late collages, which include photographic reproductions of Asian “war-orphans” in Korea and Vietnam. The collages offer an anguished reflection on the complicated aftermath of war, representations of race and ethnicity, Darger’s thwarted real-life attempts to adopt a child, and his own victimization as an orphan and reveals how the United States constructed race, particularly whiteness, and childhood.

In addition to Darger’s collages incorporating Asian children, the exhibition includes personal documents about his desire to adopt, Catholic ephemera focusing on adoption, white orphans in comics, and a variety of source material from coloring books, advertisements, and newspapers depicting Asian and Native American children, and people of color. Darger’s collection of source material and his reappropriation of those images into the collages provides an understanding of society’s views on race, class, gender and commodification during the mid-20th century.