The Chicago Imagists claimed many influences on their bold, playful style: the raw colours of Art Brut, the imaginative whimsy of Surrealism and the visual language of 1960s American advertising. Another big inspiration was their teacher at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Ray Yoshida, whose interest in non-Western art and vernacular culture reverberates in his pupil’s work. But above all, as How Chicago! Imagists 1960s & 70s(until 26 Mary; free) at Goldsmiths CCA is keen to show, the Imagists influenced one another. This is an ode to art school, the wonders of collaborative creation, the magic of a close-knit group who spent their formative years together. The fact that this is held at Goldsmiths college can be considered very apt, or a somewhat self-fulfilling prophecy. Particularly interesting is the collection of well-sourced ephemera on display: exhibition posters and merchandise often in the form of punchily-illustrated Hairy Who cartoons (the Imagists were masters at self-promotion). Downstairs, Roger Brown’s work Four Seasons (1974) shows domestic scenes in through apartment windows, each a separate world that together form a wide and rich tapestry. The 14 artists on show are presented much in the same way, individuals in their own right, but ones who struggled, and succeeded together.
– Kabir Jhala, Louisa Buck, José Da Silva