Don Nice was born in Visalia, California. After receiving his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree at the University of Southern California, he earned his Master of Fine Arts degree from Yale University School of Art, New Haven, Connecticut. Nice taught at the School of Visual Arts, New York City for many years. Since 1982, he has been artist-in-residence at Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire. He lives and works in Garrison, New York.
Museums exhibiting Nice’s work in their permanent collections include the Museum of Modern Art and Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and the Arnhems Museum, Holland. Select solo exhibitions presented since 1980 include “Peaceable Kingdom, Beasts and Demons,” Newport Harbor Art Museum, Newport Beach, California; Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth Colleg; and Palm Springs Desert Museum, California, “Views Over America and A Feast for the Eyes,” Museum of Modern Art, New York, and “Animals! Animals! Animals!,” Stamford Museum, Connecticut. In 1963, Nice won the Ford Foundation Purchase Award. Noteworthy commissions include wall murals at the National Fine Arts Commission, Lake Placid, New York and the Art in Architecture Project, Veterans Administration, White River Junction, New York.
Nice gained recognition as a New Realist painter in the early 1960s. Realistic renderings of packaged and processed items are very large, detailed studies of the optical image. Close-ups of light reflections on plastic wrap or glass reveal a beauty even in commercial objects. His illusionistic still lifes are artificial arrangements of foods and grocery items or synthetic objects such as tennis shoes. Nice’s recent work continues the depiction of single items, often combining media and including new subjects.