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Jim Nutt

Museum of Contemporary Art MCA, Chicago

The exhibition 'Coming Into Character' is a retrospective of Jim Nutt's work that emphasizes the development of these important paintings through their precedents in his own work. Based on the MCA Collection, and augmented with loans from private collections, 'Seeing Is a Kind of Thinking' includes work by more than 50 contemporary artists that resonates - either formally or through its subject matter - with aspects of Nutt's work.

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Jim Nutt: Coming Into Character

Curator and exhibition organizer Lynne Warren

Since 1990, Jim Nutt has focused exclusively on female heads in spare line drawings and rich, detailed paintings. This exhibition is a retrospective of Jim Nutt's work that emphasizes the development of these important paintings through their precedents in his own work. Acknowledging the groundswell in interest in this unique American artist's work, this will be the first major presentation of Nutt in over a decade. Nutt's history as an important artist dates to the mid-1960s where in Chicago he was a chief instigator of the irreverent "Hairy Who" group, now better known as the imagists.

While it was undoubtedly inspired by mid-twentieth century pop culture, especially comic books, advertisements, jukebox and pinball machine art, and street signs, Nutt's art also explores the formal devices and techniques of historical painting. Northern European portraiture of the 15th and 16th century; Colonial American painting; the color and line explorations of Henri Matisse and Joan Miró; the quirky individualism of such artists as John Graham, Max Ernst, Arshile Gorky, and H. C. Westermann all offered lessons as Nutt has matured over four decades of artistic development. A fully illustrated catalogue is planned. This exhibition is organized by MCA Curator Lynne Warren.


Seeing Is a Kind of Thinking: A Jim Nutt Companion

curated by Julie Rodrigues Widholm, MCA Pamela Alper Associate Curator

Further solidifying Nutt's stature as an internationally significant artist, Jim Nutt: Coming Into Character provides an excellent opportunity to expand the artistic framework in which to consider his work beyond Chicago's Hairy Who. While Coming Into Character offers a focused look at Nutt's portrait busts of the last twenty years, revealing precedents in Nutt's early works, this companion exhibition takes a much broader approach, delving into the rich and varied visual and cultural universe that has informed Nutt's work and that of his peers. The exhibition also includes work by a younger generation of artists, such as Carroll Dunham, Mike Kelley, Eric Lebofsky, and Sue Williams, who have been directly inspired by Nutt.

Based on the MCA Collection, and augmented with loans from private collections, Seeing Is a Kind of Thinking includes work by more than 50 contemporary artists that resonates—either formally or through its subject matter—with aspects of Nutt's work. The exhibition is organized into four thematic sections that examine how artists look to comics, folk art and non-Western art as source material; representations of surrealist psycho-sexual dramas; the traditional portrait bust genre; and an architectural approach to materials that oscillates between 2-D drawings and 3-D forms.

Nutt's voracious appetite for art history, surrealism, non-Western artifacts, baroque opera, new wave cinema, and comics provides the inspiration for the exhibition's dense hanging. The result is a visual encyclopedia that suggests sources beyond contemporary art to show how artists today use all manner of visual and cultural material for inspiration, and in dialogue with other forms, to create their own dynamic visual language.

Artists represented in the exhibition include: Tomma Abts, Francis Bacon, Enrico Baj, Don Baum, Hans Bellmer, Phyllis Bramson, Victor Brauner, Chuck Close, George Condo, William Copley, Aaron Curry, Dominick Di Meo, Carroll Dunham, Oyvind Fahlstrom, James Falconer, Tony Fitzpatrick, John Graham, Art Green, Leon Golub, Theodore Halkin, Miyoko Ito, Rashid Johnson, Mike Kelley, Jeff Koons, Wifredo Lam, Eric Lebofsky, Richard Lindner, Robert Lostutter, Jim Lutes, Rene Magritte, Margherita Manzelli, Kerry James Marshall, Matta, Wangechi Mutu, Bruce Nauman, Rachel Niffenegger, Gladys Nilsson, Paul Nudd, Jim Nutt, Ed Paschke, Lari Pittman, Christina Ramberg, Martin Ramirez, Richard Rezac, Suellen Rocca, Kay Rosen, Peter Saul, Cindy Sherman, Diane Simpson, Steven Urry, Chris Ware, Andy Warhol, H. C. Westermann, Karl Wirsum, Frances Whitehead, Sue Williams, Scottie Wilson, Joseph Yoakum, Ray Yoshida, and Claire Zeisler.

Image: Jim Nutt: Plumb, 2004. Private collection. Photo courtesy of David Nolan Gallery, New York

Media Relations
Erin Baldwin 312.397.3828 |
Karla Loring 312.397.3834 |

Opening January 29, 2011

Museum of Contemporary Art MCA
220 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago
Museum Hours
Tuesday 10 am - 8 pm
Wednesday through Sunday 10 am - 5 pm
Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day: Closed
Admission is FREE all day on Tuesdays year round.

Keren Cytter
dal 27/3/2015 al 3/10/2015

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