Artist Jim Nutt’s characters: Shakespearean?
Hairy Who artist Jim Nutt now has a 45-year retrospective at the Museum of Contemporary Art, “Coming Into Character.” I couldn’t resist. Shakespeare might be turning over in his grave, and Nutt revolving in his bed, but here are a half-dozen Nutt portraits linked with the iconic Shakespeare characters that Nutt’s subjects might play. All photos provided by MCA Chicago.
I have a kind of alacrity in sinking. –Falstaff
Here’s what a lifetime of overindulging in sack will do to you. Nutt’s “Lippy” (1968) is, if anything, even more disgusting than Shakespeare’s comic antihero. Wearing a Band-aid and dripping boogers, Lippy has a pate like an old pink eraser.
Screw your courage to the sticking-place. –Lady Macbeth
Lady Macbeth appears to rake her husband over the coals in Nutt’s “Pink Encounter” (1971). Appropriately, the air is filled with dismembered, vaguely phallic body parts.
If I be waspish, best beware my sting. –Kate
Nutt’s super-smart, coolly annoyed subject in “Whisk” (1999) sports a natural repellent, a barbed blouse. But once she gets her stickers into you, expect a burr under the saddle for life.
Rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind. –Ophelia
Like spurned lovers everywhere, the woman in Nutt’s “Fret” (1990) seems to be puzzling over what went wrong. Perhaps it was her black nose?
Nutt’s self-portrait, “Wee Jim’s Black Eye” (1986), captures the artist in the act of capturing himself. He looks troubled, hemmed in by his own thoughts. Maybe he’s bothered by his hairy palms.