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Nettie by Will Kurtz

Today we look at Nettie by Will Kurtz for Artwork in Focus. Join me Divvya Nirula as I explore and present my experience of the selected artwork.

Artwork in Focus

Title: Nettie
Artist : Will Kurtz                            
Year : 2015
Medium : Wood, wire, cardboard, newspaper, tape, glue, matte medium, acid free spray and varnish
Dimensions : 58 × 31 × 30 in
Location : Avant Gallery, Miami, NY

Nettie, 2015, by Will Kurtz
Image Courtesy : artsy

The Artwork

‘Nettie’ created by Kurtz is one of the people whom the artist would have legitimately come across in real life. Kurtz has always maintained that while he remains hugely creatively with the material he uses, his subjects are real. “I’ll sometimes put words on there that relate to the person, tell a story,” Kurtz says.

He is given to using newspapers and masking tape as his principal materials, But he also creates with found objects like cell phones, dog leashes, and pantyhose as occasional embellishments.

Creating life-sized sculptures of the residents of New York, (dogs very much included) Kurtz has built a reputation for himself. One can say that he is an urban voyeur, he combs through the city streets in search of his subjects.

Nettie is also representative of the many seriously senior ladies whom he must’ve walked and talked with on his scouting rounds. The expression and Nettie’s body language gives away the fact that she is familiar with the artist. She greets him with bonhomie.

Other Details

Kurtz has a unique style of working. In order to create he first snaps some pictures on his iPhone for references. These are photos of people who trigger his empathy and imagination. Once in the studio, he constructs a skeleton of each of his subjects out of wood and wire, which he then covers with an artfully arranged collage of newspaper clippings. Blaring headlines, photographs of celebrities, discount coupons, and advertisements become skin, hair, faces, and clothing.

Will Kurtz was born in Michigan and he was a trained landscape artist. He practiced what he had majored in, in university for 25 years straight till he decided to follow his art. His superior sculpting skills are what sets him apart and invests his art with a life like quality.


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