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Jim Lutes, Zaagmolenstraat, 2006, tempera and oil on canvas, 70 1/8 x 60 1/8".

Chicago

Jim Lutes

The Renaissance Society
5811 South Ellis Avenue Cobb Hall, 4th floor
January 4 - February 15

Curated by Suzanne Ghez

Depending on your perspective, fifty-three-year-old Chicago painter Jim Lutes can be many things: the most academically grounded of all slacker painters (he is a professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago); a Willem de Kooning of the 1940s, but funnier and less anxious; or a Philip Guston of the ’70s, only weirder and less guilt ridden. Some say he’s Imagism, Part Deux. Fittingly described as “protean,” Lutes’s oeuvre will nevertheless be represented in this midcareer survey, which spans twenty-five years, by only twenty-six paintings. Will the spare selection be enough to document the artist’s whole traversement from cityscapes through comic Surrealism to semilyrical abstraction? Probably not, but enigma is what makes any Lutes show intriguing.