This may partially owe to a collective and deserved respect for revered art historian Whitney Halstead's unpublished manuscript about Yoakum's art and life . Many writers have used it, but its intellectual and analytical merits have largely been bypassed.
As the current caretaker of Halstead's collection (drawings, sketchbooks, ephemera, slides, manuscript and notes, bequeathed to The Art Institute of Chicago
in 1979), I was inspired by Intuit's invitation to organize this exhibit to re-read the Halstead manuscript for a fresh perspective on this body of work.
What it reminded me of, first and foremost, was the social milieu for collecting Yoakum's drawings by Halstead
and his students and artist friends, including Ray Yoshida, Jim Nutt, Gladys Nilsson, Roger Brown, Lori Gunn, Karl Wirsum, Phil Hanson, Christina Ramberg and others.
Halstead insisted that, despite his frequent contact with the artist and years of studying his drawings, his best estimation of Yoakum's evolution was speculative at best.
helpfully identified five distinct periods in Yoakum's development. 
identified this phase as occurring in drawings dated 1964 and 1965, during which time the author hypothesizes that Yoakum's invention accelerated and "he
may have hit his
stride of [making] one a day, sometimes more.
3 Whitney Halstead, "Joseph Yoakum," unpublished manuscript, c. 1977, in Whitney Halstead Papers, Archives, The Art Institute of Chicago.
7 Probably dating from 1962 or 1963, the work was drawn with graphite and blue ballpoint pen on cream wove paper, 216 x 273 mm, Bequest of Whitney Halstead
, op. cit., pp.
For further thoughts about Yoakum's transition from watercolor to dry colored media also see Halstead
, p. 39.
A humorous but apt note in Halstead
's manuscript observes, "By 1967-68 he
no longer used such paper . . . 'it was very bad.' He
kept it in a stack in one of his
storage shelves and referred to it as his
'spanish paper.' " Halstead, op. cit., p. 29.
16 Among the ephemera collected by Whitney Halstead
are two curious cover sheets with the following inscriptions: "These are my copyrights not to be sold at no time 2/14-67&68" and "1968-69 Don't mix with other dates.
observed that he
would use these terms interchangeably, but in this case used copyrights to imply that they were his
originals, from which he
My years at The Art Institute of Chicago
have allowed my close contact with Joseph Yoakum's art and Whitney Halstead's
still important written study of the work.
Over the years, many artists have shared with me their memories and admiration of Yoakum and Halstead
-- Roger Brown, Ted Halkin, Phil Hanson, Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, Mike Noland, Christina Ramberg, Lisa Stone and Ray Yoshida.
This exhibition of Joseph Yoakum's visionary landscapes is curated by Mark Pascale, caretaker of Whitney Halstead's collection bequeathed to the Art Institute of Chicago in 1979.
Halstead was an early collector and advocate for Yoakum's work and his collection includes a number of exceptional works by Yoakum.