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Featured Artists

Chuck Close


Chuck Close (b. 1940, Monroe, WA) received his B.A. from the University of Washington, Seattle in 1962 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, he began black and white portrait painting. Soon thereafter, his work was included in the 1969 Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting at the Whitney Museum of American Art—marking his 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 more than one hundred exhibitions in over 20 countries, including many organized by museums. Most recently, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid organized Chuck Close Paintings: 1968 / 2006, the first retrospective of works by Chuck Close in Spain. The exhibition then traveled to the Ludwig Forum for International Art in Aachen, Germany. Another important traveling retrospective was recently prepared by the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, entitled Chuck Close: Self Portraits 1967-2005 (2005-2006). Other venues included The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, High Museum of Art, Atlanta; Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo.

A comprehensive monograph dedicated to Chuck Close’s career was published by Prestel in November. Chuck Close: Work by Christopher Finch is what Close describes as “the book [about my work] that I’ve always wanted.” In October 2007, a major exhibition of new paintings and jacquard tapestries entitled Family and Others went on view at White Cube in London. This exhibition then traveled to The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia in late February 2008 as Chuck Close: Seven Portraits. Around the same time, the Whitney Museum honored Close during their Fall Gala. Film Forum also released CHUCK CLOSE, An Astounding Portrait, a feature-length documentary on the artist produced and directed by Marion Cajori on December 26, 2007.

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 twenty honorary degrees including those from The Art Institute of Boston, Skidmore College (Saratoga Springs, NY), Colby College (Waterville, ME), University of Massachusetts (Amherst), 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) and his alma mater, Yale University (New Haven, CT).

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), the National Medal of Arts from President Clinton (2000), Americans for the Arts Life Time Achievement Award, New York (2004), Gold medals from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters and the American Academy in Rome (2004), and The National Arts Club gold medal (2005). Mayor Michael Bloomberg appointed Close to The New York City Cultural Affairs Advisory Commission in 2003.

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.

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