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Chuck Close: A Couple of Ways of Doing Something

Chuck Close, Self-Portrait, 2006. Courtesy Pace/MacGill, New York. Made in collaboration with David Adamson Editions. Exhibition organized by Aperture Foundation, New York.

Chuck Close, Self-Portrait, 2006. Courtesy Pace/MacGill, New York. Made in collaboration with David Adamson Editions. Exhibition organized by Aperture Foundation, New York.

Florida Museum of Photographic Arts - Tampa

By Suzanne Cohen

This interesting exhibition organized by Aperture Foundation included 15 daguerreotypes by Chuck Close, many of them portraying prominent contemporary artists like Lorna Simpson, Cindy Sherman, Lisa Yuskavage, Ellen Gallagher, Kiki Smith, James Turrell, Andrés Serrano, among others. Each daguerreotype offers an intimate portrait of each subject as a testament to the hyperrealist portrait tradition of which Close is a master.

In the 1960s, Close was one of the first artists to utilize photography as a starting point for his paintings. He developed a gridded painting system based at first on gelatin-silver prints and dye transfers, then on 20-by-24-inch Polaroid images, which enabled him to scale up his portraits to colossal size. Since the end of the 1990s, Close has intensified his experimentation with daguerreotypes, the starting point for many of his later works. A typical characteristic of Close’s oeuvre is his continual interest in experimenting with new media.

The exhibition also included a collection of poems by Bob Holman, founder of the Bowery Poetry Club, since many of these portraits arose almost side by side with the poems, the product of the close friendship between the creators.

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