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Jim Nutt

Coming Into Character

MCA Chicago with Yale University Press



Favoring fantastical invention, biting wit, and distorted figuration, with roots in mid-20th-century pop culture, Jim Nutt (b. 1938) creates wildly original work ranging from paintings on Plexiglas to phantasmagoric portraits of imaginary women. Nutt first exerted his artistic influence in the 1960s as a member of Hairy Who, a group of artists who, along with other Chicago artists of the era, are more commonly referred to as the imagists. Since 1990 he has focused exclusively on rendering female heads with radically distorted features in spare line drawings and richly detailed paintings accompanied by customized frames. Working with tiny brushes and thinned acrylic paint, Nutt often spends a year creating a single portrait.

Lynne Warren's Jim Nutt: Coming Into Character is the first major publication on the artist in almost two decades, as well as the first to concentrate on Nutt's portraits. Detailing 70 of the artist's works from 1966 to the present, this important selected retrospective examines these paintings and drawings through their precedents in Nutt's work and demonstrates the artist's consistent and inimitable contributions to the art world. This catalogue includes contributions by Warren, Jennifer R. Gross, and Alexi Worth.

Table of Contents

3 Director’s Foreword
5 Acknowledgments
6 Jim Nutt: Coming Into Character by Lynne Warren
14 Portrait of an Unidentified Woman by Jennifer R. Gross
22 Unlikenesses by Alexi Worth
27 Plates
104 Catalogue of the Exhibition
108 Selected Exhibitions
112 Selected Bibliography
119 Reproduction Credits
120 Index