Favoring fantastical invention, biting wit, and distorted figuration, with roots in mid-20th-century pop culture, Jim Nutt creates wildly original work ranging from paintings on Plexiglas to phantasmagoric portraits of imaginary women. Nutt (b. 1938) 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. Jim Nutt 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.
Lynne Warren is curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. Jennifer R. Gross is Seymour H. Knox, Jr., Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Yale University Art Gallery. Alexi Worth is a painter who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.