A black-haired, naked man is propelled through a blue sky by a "toot"—gas he has just passed. He gazes at a pink thought-balloon that contains a woman with folded arms and a knife. "Hmmmm . . ." he says, obviously intrigued. His daydream is both a come-on and a threat, as we can see from what his thoughts and, possibly, deeds may do to him. His snout-like nose makes him a "pig." Sex is on his mind, but at a risk. Comic-book-styled snippets from girlie magazines surround him: women in provocative lingerie with panties, garter belt, and nylons exposed. There are also feet of ladies in high-heeled shoes everywhere. However lecherous his thoughts are, he pays a price. Fingers with pointed red nails scratch and cut him. Knife points protrude from his flesh. His chest is lacerated with blood oozing from open wounds.
Jim Nutt's acrylic painting on Plexiglas is a screwball caricature inspired by comic books and cartoon strips. It is funny, vulgar, and deeply disturbing. If only in his thoughts, our guy is getting his comeuppance.
Jim Nutt, Toot 'n Toe, 1969, acrylic on Plexiglas, reverse painting, 60 x 39 inches. Collection Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Gift of Howard and Judith Tullman. 2003.06 © Jim Nutt
Jim Nutt. © Wm H Bengtson.