Henry Darger curator and scholar Michael Bonesteel will address some of the major issues in Darger’s epic novel, In the Realms of the Unreal, and discuss their relationship to the artwork in the exhibition he assembled at Intuit, Henry Darger: Author/Artist.
There is no question that Darger had his own “voice,” that he wrote from a definite perspective and that his personality pervaded his work. Even when he borrowed texts from other sources, he transformed them into his own vernacular. But why should we read the work of a writer who violates most of the rules of English grammar and what we are accustomed to recognize as “good literature?” Bonesteel discusses the problematic internal inconsistencies, contradictions and lapses within Darger’s Realms, as well as how his juxtapositions of fatuous humor, childish charm, sentimentalism, poignancy and graphic gore make his work so surprising, strange and somehow compelling.
Michael Bonesteel is an adjunct assistant professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the author of Henry Darger: Art and Selected Writings (Rizzoli International), the first definitive publication in English on Darger.