Both prominent members of the Chicago art community, Richard Hull and Madeline Nusser have built a significant art collection that reflects their own proximity to and involvement in the scene. Like other artist/collectors, much of their collection has come either as gifts, trades or purchases from friends and colleagues. As such, the work offers a veritable survey of Chicago art, spanning decades, genres and various artist groups.
The works selected for “858” remain true to the Hull-Nusser household. Folk and craft objects are interspersed among works of fine art without hierarchy. Every piece of art, high or low, is valued for its craft and cultural significance. In their own domestic viewing space, these objects emit a quiet influence as a part of a familiar background. The exhibition aims to recreate the collective force and overlapping energies in their private environment.
Inasmuch as the exhibition is an intimate look into the tastes and influences of its curators, it is also a reflection on the overall practice of artists as collectors. Chicago is rife with private artists’ collections turned public—the Roger Brown Study Collection, the Henry Darger Room at Intuit and, more recently, the Ray Yoshida collection on view at the Kohler Foundation in Sheboygan, WI. These displays demonstrate how the act of collecting contributes to an artist’s oeuvre. “858,” with its focus on peers’ work, also underlines the significance of trades, purchases and gifting among artists—a support system so vital to artist communities across the globe, and one that offers a meaningful alternative to conventional support structures.
Richard Hull is a painter and Adjunct Associate Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. His work is in various collections, including the Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and the Smithsonian. He is represented by Western Exhibitions/Scott Speh Gallery and began showing at Phyllis Kind Gallery, Chicago-New York, in 1979.
Madeline Nusser is a writer, editor and culture critic. She contributes to several local and national publications, pens the real estate column for the Sun-Times and spent eight years as a writer and editor for Time Out Chicago.