This book documents Lutes' 2009 retrospective exhibition at the Renaissance Society, which included work from 1982 to 2006. While a retrospective affords a chance to construct a narrative of an artist?s development, Lutes stylistic development hardly allows for an analysis following an evolutionary model. Figuration and abstraction coexist in constantly changing degrees. As essayist John Corbett says, "It is the central point of [Lutes] work, in fact, to tease out the productive tension from those two types of painting."
Lutes' work has been variously associated with Chicago imagism, Northwest Coast abstraction, so-called "bad" painting, and postmodern appropriation, to name a few. While none of these associations are wrong per se, to understand his work within the narrow context of any single movement would be a mistake. Lutes work is resolutely uncategorizable, an independent pursuit that acknowledges such art movements but never quite fits any given mold, which could arguably be considered the quintessential definition of a Midwestern artist.
Hamza Walker offers an introductory overview of Lutes' career to date, while Corbett's wide-ranging essay touches on connoisseurship, coffee, and cymbals in the process of refuting the false dichotomy of abstraction and figuration.
2010, Softcover, 11.75 x 8.25 inches, 87 pp., 38 color illus.