A Year of Exhibitions to Mark Outsider Henry Darger’s 125th Birthday

In celebration of Henry Darger’s 125th birthday, Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art presents five exhibitions in 2017. Darger, who was born in Chicago and lived in a one-room apartment in Lincoln Park for most of his life, was a prolific self-taught artist and author. By day Darger lived as a hospital janitor and dishwasher, but at home in his apartment-turned-studio he was secretly writing thousand-page novels and illustrating hundreds of drawings.

Intuit is home to The Henry Darger Room Collection, which offers a rare window into the life of this reclusive artist. This year, visitors will also have the opportunity to view a number of exhibitions, which explore Darger’s own writing and work, along with work by other artists who immerse themselves in complex, otherworldly places.

Darger’s 15,000 page unpublished novel, The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What Is Known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion, now referred to as Realms of the Unreal, was discovered in 1972 by Darger’s landlord, Nathan Lerner, who was cleaning out his former tenant’s room. Along with the novel, more than 350 watercolors, pencil drawings and collages were found.

The suite of exhibitions, organized by Intuit in partnership with the American Folk Art Museum in New York, juxtaposes Darger’s writing alongside his visual art, while contextualizing the artist in the historical tradition of the epic novel.

For information on Henry Darger and a full schedule of exhibitions visit art.org

Top image: Henry Darger (American, 1892-1973). GIGANTIC ROVERINE WITH YOUNG ALL POISONOUS ALL ISLANDS OF UNIVERSAN SEAS AND OCEANS. ALSO IN CALVERINA ANGELINIA AND ABBIEANNIA, mid-twentieth century. Watercolor, pencil, and carbon tracing on pierced paper, 14 x 33 ¾ in. Collection American Folk Art Museum, New York, anonymous gift, 2001.16.4. © Artists Rights Society ( ARS), NY, Photo credit: James Prinz, ©American Folk Art Museum / Art Resource, NY