In 2010, the MCA Chicago presented the major retrospective Jim Nutt: Coming Into Character. Nutt often finishes his paintings by working on the backs, rendering images—some of them trompe l’oeil—and scripting punning, purposefully misspelled phrases in his own unique calligraphy. These finished backs are not meant for display. Their primary purpose is to relay information to those handling the works, including individual owners as well as museum registrars, conservators, and preparators.
Through the use of QR codes included with the labels of selected works, museum visitors are able to access images of the backs of these works on their smartphones while in the exhibition.
Pictured: A composite image of Nutt’s Wiggly Woman (1966) with the front of the painting (acrylic on Plexiglas; 16 1/16 x 12 1/16 in) pictured on the left, and the reverse side on the right.
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