During the tumultuous 1960s and 70s, the prolific artist Ralph Arnold made photocollages that appropriated and commented upon mass media portrayals of gender, sexuality, race and politics. Arnold’s complex visual arrangements of photography, painting and text were built upon his own multilayered identity as a black, gay veteran and prominent member of Chicago’s art community, hence the title for the exhibition, which is drawn from one of the artist’s more personal pieces. Arnold participated in some of the era’s most provocative exhibitions yet by the mid-1980s he increasingly focused on his teaching and service to the art community. This exhibition brings together Arnold’s most significant contributions to the art of collage, including a recently rediscovered triptych made for the 1968 MCA Chicago exhibition,Violence in Recent American Art. It also includes work by contemporaries and colleagues like Robert Rauschenberg, Ed Paschke, Ray Johnson, and Barbara Jones-Hogu to add further context and enrich our understanding of Arnold’s legacy.
The MoCP is supported by Columbia College Chicago, the MoCP Advisory Board, the Museum Council, individuals, and private and corporate foundations. The 2017-2018 exhibition season is generously sponsored by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, the Efroymson Family Fund, and the Illinois Arts Council Agency. The Many Hats of Ralph Arnold: Art, Identity, and Politics is funded by the Terra Foundation for American Art. Additional support is provided by a travel and research-specific grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and by the Chicago Community Trust.
The Many Hats of Ralph Arnold: Art, Identity, and Politics is part of Art Design Chicago, an exploration of Chicago’s art and design legacy, an initiative of the Terra Foundation for American Art with presenting partner The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation.