Born in Frankfort, Indiana in 1941, Art Green studied painting at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He first came to prominence in 1966, when he joined five other recent Art Institute graduates (Jim Falconer, Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, Suellen Rocca, and Karl Wirsum) for the first of a series of group exhibitions called the Hairy Who. In 1969, he accepted a teaching position at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, Halifax, and that same year married Natalie Novotny, whose Art Institute education in pattern and fabric design became a strong influence on his work. They eventually settled in Stratford, Ontario, where he taught at the University of Waterloo from 1977 to 2006.
For over 35 years, Green has carefully honed his personal iconography—idealized, archetypal images of ice cream cones, wood grain patterns, burning candles, moonlit landscapes, and perfectly polished fingernails, to name a few. The artist orchestrates his eccentric panoply into a visual pandemonium. It is left to the viewer, then, to decipher meaning from the artist’s circuitous, often puzzling, yet inevitable juxtapositions.
Since 1968, Green’s work has been the subject of over 25 solo exhibitions, including nine at Phyllis Kind Gallery (1974, 1976, 1976–1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981–1982, 1983, 1986, Chicago and New York), three at Bau-Xi Gallery (1974, 1979, and 1983, Vancouver and Toronto), and one at Corbett vs. Dempsey (2011–2012, Chicago). His work has also been featured in more than 120 group exhibitions, including Human Response/Personal Torment (1969, Whitney Museum of American Art); Who Chicago? (1981, Camden Art Center, London); 12 Chicago Artists (1995, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.); and Chicago Imagists (2011, Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Wisconsin). In 2005, the Kitchener-Waterloo Art Gallery, Ontario mounted Heavy Weather, the artist’s first career retrospective. In early 2009, the CUE Art Foundation, New York hosted a solo exhibition of Green’s work, curated by Jim Nutt.
More recently, Green’s work was featured in What Nerve! Alternative Figures in American Art, 1960 to Present (2014, RISD Museum, Providence); Homegrown: The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in the Permanent Collection (2015–2016, Art Institute of Chicago); The Next Generation: Chicago Imagists from the Smart Collection (2016, Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago).
Green’s paintings are featured in the collections of major museums around the world, including: the Art Institute of Chicago; the Smart Museum of Art, the University of Chicago; the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Wisconsin; the Museum Moderner Kunst, Vienna; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; the National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia; the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.; and the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut.