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Chuck Close

This is a huge painting by Chuck Close. It looks like a photograph but isn't.

Links

MOMA: A fantastic museum. This site includes info on current exhibits as well as art resources in the city.
Metropolitan Museum of Art: This place has everything.
Guestbook: Please sign my guestbook. I would love some feedback on these pages.
Art in New York City: Click here to go to my other webpage. There are other artists mentioned and a large painting by Chuck Close that looks like a photograph.
Resume: Go see my resume.
Interesting Artists: This is my newest page about artists that you may never have heard of but are really great. This is a great page for the artistically unaware. Come see.
Elisha Cooper: My experiece meeting this Author/Artist
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Chuck Close

Chuck Close is an amazing artist. I first saw his work at an exhibit at the Museum of Modern Art in early 1998 and then I saw it again when the show came to Seattle in 1999. The exhibit overwhelmed me. It was hard to absorb everything at one time because Close obviously put hundreds of tedious hours into his artwork. It's hard to imagine how he did it. Chuck Close creates portraits, usually of the head only, using a variety of methods. I am especially interested in the different techniques he uses. Some of his paintings are almost photographic, some are realistic but have added texture that seems like the texture of skin at a microscopic level, and some are simple tiny shapes of color in patterns that form a picture when viewed from a distance. Many of his paintings are done in grids. Some of the materials he uses are acrylics, watercolor, pastels, colored and black ink, and paper pulp. The most impressive paintings I saw were made entirely of fingerprints but they looked so realistic. I tried using that method on a smaller scale for an art class and found it extremely hard to do successfully. The variety of techniques and the level of success Close achieved with each method are inspiring.

Chuck Close’s daughter, Maggie, contacted me regarding this web page and offered to give me more information about her dad’s life. I think this is an incredible opportunity to see into the life of an artist from a more intimate source. Because Maggie is so articulate, I will give you excerpts of what she wrote me in her own words. I hope you find this as interesting as I did.

Written by Maggie Close:

“Believe it or not, Chuck Close was NOT always famous; actually it was only in the past couple years that he was even known by my art teachers and other people. Up until a few years ago, we were saving all the little clippings in magazines that no one reads, in a file. So, as much as I want to say it was great growing up with a famous father, it really wasn't the case. But when he would come home, the smell of turpentine and the sight of paint on his face and arms became such a familiar and great sight/smell to me, and I still love those things. In general, I was not a depraved child. I always knew that my dad was doing his favorite thing to do; it wasn't even like a job to me. I loved that he was so happy and that he didn't seem to come home tired from a hard day's work, and that when I'd go to his studio I would actually ENJOY watching him at his work. And always, he'd say; I hope when you are older you end up doing something you love like I am.

“Growing up, I have always had the greatest relationship with my parents and sister. I think that the reason why now, when most kids my age are sort of running away from home, I'm so family-oriented. We do fight, actually my dad and I had a huge fight last night, but I can't imagine being closer to a parent than I am to my father and mother. He didn't work at home, actually he always had a studio, which changed places once in a while, and he has had one in our country house, but surprisingly I never felt that he wasn't ever around (he pretty much left when I left for school and came back a couple hours later than I did).

“We live on the upper west side, and his studio in the city is in downtown NYC. We also have a house in Bridgehampton, where he has a studio where he works during the summer. If you don't know, most of the people he paints are other artist friends, and family. I have been around many other artists all my life, but only the nice ones. Alex Katz, Lucas Samaras, Kiki Smith, Bryce Mardin, Janet Fish, and our close family friends include artists Mark Greenwold (his best friend) and Robert Cottingham. For a long time I thought I would be an artist when I grew up because the art world seemed so welcoming to me, and everyone was so nice, and were are friends also.

“When I was four and my sister was 15, my father was paralyzed because a blood vessel popped in his spine. The result was that he is a quadriplegic, meaning below his neck he is basically paralyzed. My father is a very down-to-earth guy, and more than any other artist or famous person I know, he is very unaffected by his fame. And he is not worried about what people think of him. I always could not believe that someone could seem to be so watched by people (because of his art, and because of his quadriplegia), and still, he would always wear what I told him to on family day. His favorite things to do are not be at award shows or see himself in Harper's Bizarre, but really to be with his family, be in the country, paint, look at other peoples' paintings. He's a dad in a famous guy's body.

“My dad is not only so down-to-earth, he is also such a great dad, and an amazing artist. When my parents get in fights, he's really quiet, and my mother yells as he apologizes and puts on a sad face. Rarely does he get frustrated that his body doesn't really work below his neck- probably once in a year he'll get angry for a minute. We laugh at his judgment sometimes, because he'll say something to someone when he's had a drinkipoo and have grown a little tactless, and we have to stop him. But he's done great with his kids and career, and I have always admired his capabilities, strength, diligence, and his friends. He's a great artist, but he's a better dad and husband, I would say.”

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