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Chuck Close

New Paintings

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About Chuck Close

Chuck Close (b. 1940, Monroe, Washington) is renowned for his innovative conceptual portraiture. He began creating photorealist portraits from photographs in the late 1960s, using a grid to map each facial detail. In the late 1970s, he began shifting away from this approach, creating images with layers of autonomous shapes and colors that cohere into his subject’s face when viewed from a distance. Constantly revitalizing his practice, Close works across a variety of media, extending beyond painting to encompass printmaking, photography, collage, and tapestries based on Polaroids.

In 2000, Close was presented with the prestigious National Medal of Arts by President Bill Clinton. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, has served on the board of many arts organizations, and, in 2010, was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve on The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities. In 2016, he created twelve large-scale mosaic portraits for New York’s 86th Street subway station at Second Avenue.

Pace has represented Chuck Close since 1977.

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Press Release

  • Chuck Close: Recent Works: Paintings and Daguerrotypes
    PaceWildenstein is pleased to present new paintings (2000-2002) by Chuck Close on view from November 15, 2002 through January 11, 2003 at 534 West 25th Street, New York City. The exhibition is comprised of eight, large-scale oil on canvas paintings including a self-portrait, two portraits of Close’s family members as well as artists Cecily Brown, Paul Cadmus, Robert Rauschenberg, James Siena, and Lisa Yuskavage. A companion exhibition, organized by Pace/MacGill, of approximately 45 8" x 10" daguerreotypes (2001-02) by Close simultaneously will be on view. A full color catalogue with an introductory essay by Kirk Varnedoe, resident art historian at the Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton, NJ, will accompany both exhibitions. Having employed a variety of media throughout his career, Close has created a body of work that positions portraiture—and the careful rendering of the human face—as his primary subject of interest. Involved in what Kirk Varnedoe describes as a “very feisty face-off within the broader agon between representation and abstraction that has preoccupied much of art and art discourse for the last hundred years,” Close’s paintings and dagurreotypes both exist within a tradition and succeed as contemporary, vital, and personal creations. Though invented in 1839, Close reclaims the daguerreotype process and expands upon its expressive possibilities. Similarly, Close’s new paintings exceed even his own recent methods and models. Varnedoe observes: “The painter takes evident delight in such increased difficulty: working against the grain of some impediment or resistant challenge, usually self-imposed, has been a constant motor-force and leitmotif…throughout his career….and [authors], with a vengeance, some of the most riotously carnal paintings of his life.” Chuck Close (b. 1940, Monroe, WA) received his B.A. from the University of Washington, Seattle before studying at Yale University School of Art and Architecture (B.F.A., 1963; M.F.A. 1964). Following graduation Close was awarded a Fulbright grant and studied at the Akademie der Bildenen Kunste, Vienna; he began working from photographs at this time. In 1967 Close moved to New York City where, one year later, Close began black and white portrait painting. Soon thereafter his work was included in the “1969 Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting”—marking Close’s first inclusion in a museum exhibition—and in 1970 Close received his first solo show. Nearly ten years later, during the late Seventies and early Eighties, Close began oil paintings and photography-based portrait series. Close’s drawings, paintings, photographs and prints have been the subject of exhibitions in more than 20 countries including three retrospective exhibitions: “Close Portraits” (1980-81) organized by the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, with additional venues including the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; “Chuck Close: Retrospektive” (1994) organized by the Staatliche Kunsthalle, Baden-Baden, and later presented at the Lenbachhaus Städtische Galerie, Munich; and, most recently, “Chuck Close” (1998-99) organized by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, with subsequent venues at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, DC, the Seattle Art Museum, and the Hayward Gallery, London. Also of note is the photography exhibition “Chuck Close” (1989-90) organized by and opening at the Art Institute of Chicago; the exhibition traveled to The Friends of Photography, Ansel Adams Center, San Francisco. Recent solo shows include “Photographs by Chuck Close” (1999), “Chuck Close” (2000-01) at the Worcester Museum of Art, and “Chuck Close Ritratti” at the American Academy in Rome, Italy. Since 1969 Close has participated in over 400 group exhibitions of international scope, including Documenta, Kassel, Germany (1972, 1977), the Tokyo Biennale (1974), the Corcoran Gallery of Art Biennial (1975, 2001), the Whitney Museum of American Art Biennial (1977, 1979, 1991), the Venice Biennale (1993, 1995), and the Carnegie International (1995-96). Close has taught at the University of Massachusetts (Amherst), The School of Visual Arts (New York), the University of Washington (Seattle), New York University and Yale University (New Haven), and has been conferred with honorary degrees by The Art Institute of Boston, Skidmore College (Saratoga Springs, NY), Colby College (Waterville, ME), University of Massachusetts (Amherst), Yale University (New Haven, CT), Rhode Island School of Design, Purchase College at the State University of New York, Maryland Institute College of Art (Baltimore), the Corcoran School of Art (Washington, DC), and Bard College (Annandale-on-Hudson). Honored by numerous cultural institutions throughout the United States, Close has been the recipient of many distinctions including: the International Center for Photography Annual Infinity Award for Art (1990), the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture Medal (1991), the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Award in Art (1991) and election as a member of the Academy the following year, the Academy of the Arts Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Visual Arts, Guild Hall of East Hampton, NY (1995), residency at The American Academy in Rome, Italy (1996), the New York State Governor’s Award (1997), election to Fellow of The American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1998), the Artist Advocate Award from the Alliance of New York State Arts Organizations (1999), the title of “Culture Laureate” by the Historic Landmarks Preservation Center (1999), the Independent Curators International Leo Award (2000), and the National Medal of Arts (2000). Close’s work can be found in over 60 major public collections worldwide including: the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; The Art Institute of Chicago; the Australian National Gallery, Canberra; the Carnegie Institute, Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; The Cleveland Museum of Art; the Des Moines Art Center; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington DC; the International Museum of Photography, George Eastman House, Rochester; the Library of Congress, Washington, DC; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Musée national d’art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Museum moderner Kunst, Palais Liechtenstein, Vienna; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC; the Osaka City Museum; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Seattle Art Museum; the Staatliche Museum, Berlin; the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, among others. Close currently lives and works in New York City and Long Island. Images are available upon request.
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Kirk Varnedoe

2002. PaceWildenstein. Paperback

64 pages: 46 illustrations, 29 color; 13 ¾ x 11 inches



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