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157. Chuck Close.

close.jpgI had the opportunity to visit the Met this weekend in New York,  though for not nearly long enough as it would take a solid year to give each piece adequate attention. Some of the modern art might be a bit too pretentious for my taste – as I still have trouble grasping the magnitude of a canvas painted solid blue – there was of course a lot of amazing work on display. Perhaps my favorites were the portraits of Chuck Close. I’ve seen his stuff before in books, but his creations really need to be experienced in person. The sheer size of the paintings are impressive and provide a chance to see all the little details – impossible if simply viewing on a page. I watched many a visitor reach Chuck Close’s section and stand in awe, stopping in their tracks. Especially when they came upon the piece called, Mark. (More on that far below.)

Self Portrait:


Close has a lot of different styles, but he is famous for (according to wikipedia), painting “in low-resolution grid squares...Viewed from afar, these squares appear as a single, unified image which attempt photo-reality, albeit in pixelated form. Small bits of irregular paper or inked fingerprints were used as mediums to achieve, nonetheless, astoundingly realistic and interesting results.” You can see a few samples below. When viewed in detail, you see uses of color that seem completely out of place, but take a step or two back and they combine into one smooth texture. It’s an amazing experience to stand nearby and walk in and out of this visual illusion. 




The painting Mark, however, is an attempt at super-reality. All of Mark’s blemishes, hair follicles, wrinkles, textures and reflections are in this piece. So much so that people were betting on whether or not it was a photo when I first walked upon it. It’s incredible. It’s as if a giant person is starring right back at you. When you hear people talk about a piece ‘moving them’, this is one of the few that really does it. This painting is alive.



This simply underscores the truth that some art cannot be appreciated in a textbook, you have to get out and see it for yourself, with your own eyes.


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Reader Comments (1)

Amazing. The paintings looks so alive. The artist so gifted.
September 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterModern Art Paintings Girl

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