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The Henry Darger Room

This article was originally published on April 23, 2013 on Art Nerd by writer Tara Kosloski. This article is part of a series of article exchange partnerships between Sixty Inches From Center and other online blogs and journals that have missions similar to ours–to document and support the visual arts in Chicago. The goal of these partnerships is to build bridges within our writing community, help promote one another to new audiences and give more exposure to the art that keeps our Chicago experience compelling.

Henry Darger (1892-1973), the reclusive yet brilliant author and illustrator, lived most of his life in Chicago, where he worked as a custodian until his retirement in 1963. In 1930, he settled into a small apartment in Lincoln Park at 851 W. Webster Avenue. It was in that small room, that Darger created the epic, over 15,000-page, illustrative story In the Realms of the Unreal. Much of the tome followed the story of the Vivian Girls in the section titled: 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.

While some of Darger's imagery was childlike and fantastical, some was grusome and alarming. Image via Abduzeedo.

While some of Darger’s imagery was childlike and fantastical, some was gruesome and alarming. (Image Credit: Abduzeedo)

Darger’s massive volume of work was not discovered until almost the end of his life, when his landlords Nathan and Kiyoko Lerner found out what their tenant was working away on. They immediately recognized that the work was of artistic importance, took control of Darger’s estate, and publicized his work. Darger’s work has since inspired a host of artists, musicians, and writers.

In 2008, Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art opened the Henry Darger Room, which painstakingly recreated Darger’s living and working space. The Center hopes that those who visit the space will be provided with “a window into Darger’s world.”

The Henry Darger Room at Intuit. (Image Credit: ntuit)

The Henry Darger Room and collection
Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art
756 N. Milwaukee Avenue
Tuesday – Saturday 11-6 pm; Thursday 11-7:30 pm.
Admission: $5

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