In 1962, Adeliza McHugh opened the Candy Store Gallery in a modest home just outside Sacramento, California. She was among the first to exhibit and sell the avant-garde art style known as “Funk”, as well as its lesser-known corollary, “Nut”. The gallery’s two rooms displayed works by creators who were to become nationally and internationally important, including Robert Arneson, Luis Cruz Azaceta, Clayton Bailey, Roy De Forest, Luis Jiménez, Gladys Nilsson, Jim Nutt, Maija Gegeris Zack and Joseph Yoakum. .
Over its 30-year history, the Candy Store Gallery has become a popular destination for art shopping, socializing and interacting with artists. Held on the occasion of what would be the 60th anniversary of the founding of the gallery, The Candy Shop: Funk, Nuts, and Other Arts with a Kick is the Candy Store Gallery’s largest exhibition, highlighting not just a gallery, a pioneering gallerist and a group of esteemed artists, but a community.
There were, of course, visitors offended by the gallery’s unrefined and often bawdy art, much of which was not meant to be easy to like. Some who came for candy left in a hurry. Other naysayers became clients, with the legendary gallerist convincing them that good art should make them feel uneasy, at least initially. “People seem to be drawn to smart artists,” McHugh sighed, “the work they can understand, the tried and true. Left alone, they buy art without sex, without violence, without politics, without anything. Kool-Aid art. If I’m going to drink, I want wine; and if I have to look at art, it has to be a kick.