Monster Roster: Existentialist Art in Postwar Chicago

Accompanying an exhibition at the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum of Art, this book is the definitive introduction to Chicago’s first artistic movement, the Monster Roster.

The volume includes an overview of the artists involved, such as Leon Golub, June Leaf, Seymour Rosofsky, and Nancy Spero; an introduction to the historical context surrounding the group’s emergence in the 1950s; and a discussion of Monster Roster prints. In addition, key texts can be found reprinted here, such as Jean Dubuffet’s 1951 lecture “Anticultural Positions” and Franz Schulze’s 1972 essay “Chicago: The Setting and the Group.”

Containing full-color reproductions of many Monster Roster works, ephemera, and historical photographs, as well as a detailed chronology and exhibition history, Monster Roster is a long-awaited history of one of the most essential Midwestern contributions to American art.


The Monster Roster catalogue is the recipient of the Association of Art Museum Curators 2017 Award for Excellence, an annual prize dedicated to recognizing groundbreaking new scholarship in the field.


John Corbett, Jim Dempsey, Jessica Moss, and Richard A. Born with contributions by Dennis Adrian, Jon Bird, Thomas Dyja, Mark Pascale, and Arlene Shechet

Publication date

February 2016


224 pages, 100 color plates, 9 1/2 x 11"



Purchase this catalogue

Available for $45 online through the University of Chicago Press or in person at the Smart Museum Shop