Happy Birthday Chuck Close
|Chuck Close • Photo Credit: Gianfranco Gorgoni|
Chuck Close (b. July 5, 1940)
Today is the birthday of Chuck Close - a contemporary artist who paints large massive scale portraits of a variety of subjects. His work is famous for its photorealism quality. His highly inventive -- mosaic like -- technique for painting portraits grew out of his need to remember faces. He has prosopagnosia — an inability for face recognition. But he is not only a portrait painter but a printmaker, photographer, and tapestries. In 2000, President Clinton presented him with the prestigious National Medal of Arts.
His career in the art field was formally acknowledged when his work was displayed in the University of Massachusetts Art Gallery in Amherst, MA in the early months of 1967. Since that time his work has been the subject of many gallery exhibits. In 1988, Close was in New York to present an award; afterwords he had a seizure, a spinal artery burst. When he awoke in the hospital he was a quadriplegic. Extensive therapy helped him regain the ability to paint. He uses a brush-holding device strapped to his wrist and forearm and has constructed a sophisticated pulley system that allows him to move his canvases into place. Recently the New York's Metropolitan Transit Authority announced that they have commissioned Close to produce a series of 10-foot-tall mosaics for the future subway station at 86th Street and Second Avenue. The goal of his work is to "reflect the riding population: old people, young people, people of color, Asians." The basis of his work will be the photographs of artists that he has taken throughout his career.
|Seducitve: Bill Clinton by Chuck Close|
Bill Clinton, 2006, Oil on canvas, 108 1/2 x 84 in.
From the book Chuck Close: Work, by Christopher Finch
His work has included well-known subjects such as composer Philip Glass, whose portrait Close painted and showed in 1969 and has become one of Close's most recognized pieces. But he has painted other well-known subjects as well, choreographer Merce Cunningham and former President Bill Clinton, and others. One of my favorites is the portrait of Clinton which was the subject of an interview by Alastair Brooke for 'The Telegraph" (06 October 2007).
Christopher Finch has written a comprehensive book about Close and his work, in Chuck Close: Work (Prestel Publishing, 2007)
Two books written for a young audience include:
Close, Chuck. Chuck Close: Face Book. With Amanda Freymann and Joan Sommers. (Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2012) and Greenberg, Jan and Sandra Jordan. Chuck Close: Up Close. (DK Children, 1998)
|Close, Chuck. Chuck Close: Face Book. |
With Amanda Freymann and Joan Sommers.
(Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2012)
|Greenberg, Jan and Sandra Jordan. |
Chuck Close: Up Close. (DK Children, 1998)
|Finch, Christopher. Chuck Close: Work (Prestel Publishing, 2007)|