Ike Morgan: The Hospital Years

Curated by Matthew Higgs
January 27th - March 5th, 2017

SHRINE is excited to announce Ike Morgan: The Hospital Years, an exhibition of early drawings and paintings by the Texas self-taught artist, Ike E. Morgan (b. 1958). Curated by Matthew Higgs, director of White Columns, the show will be an in-depth look at the artwork Ike Morgan created in secrecy shortly after being admitted to the Austin State Hospital for severe schizophrenia, where he resided from age 17 through 41. 
 
With no intention of becoming an artist, Ike Morgan began using cardboard, found paper, crayons and anything else that could be scavenged at the hospital to create. This early artistic output is a definitive example of American art brut– The works display an incredibly raw, but consistent, range of expression, and Morgan’s subject matter was intuitively transfigured and highly stylized despite originating from photographic source material or being appropriated from dollar bills and coins kept in his pockets to draw from. Like the art of so many self-taught artists, this series of work was created secretly and was intended only for Ike Morgan’s private pleasure. These early drawings and paintings were stored under the artist's bed and most likely would have been destroyed, but a young artist working as an orderly at the hospital discovered Morgan’s artwork and began collecting pieces in exchange for cigarettes and other luxuries not easily found within the walls of the Austin State Hospital.  
 
While he no longer lives at the hospital, Ike Morgan still spends almost every waking moment creating art. As he often says, “it helps to pass the time away.” Over the years, he has produced thousands of haunting paintings depicting the United States Presidents, birds and other animals, famous musicians, the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper. Several of his erotic paintings, which are based on images found in pornographic magazines, are currently in the show Known/Unknown: Private Obsession and Hidden Desire at the Museum of Sex in New York City. 
 
As a highly prolific artist, Ike Morgan often finds himself without art materials. To coincide with the exhibition, SHRINE is launching an 'art drive' to gather art supplies for Ike. Donations of art materials or checks for supplies will be sent to Ike Morgan at the end of the exhibition.