Nichols, Tucker: Brainy Placemat Doodles

This series of lunch room placemat art, “Placemats,” will tempt you to borrow your kids’ crayons at the dinner table. It will make you say out loud, “I could have done that.” Except you couldn’t, because you didn’t spend eight years total studying Chinese art history at Brown (BA '93) and Chinese painting at Yale (MFA '98). Don’t confuse the short phrases with naivete or simple- mindedness. His brainy doodles are iconic symbols of modern life and his captions are succinct poems. His past installation wall paintings are modern day ancient Chinese landscape paintings.

Tucker’s work resonates because it is a return to low tech in this high tech world. Seeing Tucker’s hand drawn pen and ink cartoons and wall drawings allows the viewer to relax, let down his guard, and be a part of the moment or a part of the joke, whichever the case may be. It doesn’t hurt that he is also a tall, handsome guy with a winning personality. At the Electric Works opening he held court with a throng of friends and fans around him all at once. Locals will appreciate that Tucker's work has been featured in McSweeny's and The Believer. He has shown a few times at his good friend Charles Linder's gallery, Lincart. Subscribe to his blog at

Confidential to Art History geeks: I felt great relief when I read Tucker’s review of the 2003 Philip Guston retrospective at SFMOMA. Sometimes a mound of giant cherries is just a mound of giant cherries.

This show $40-$750