The Awe-Inspiring Work of Chuck Close
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Arguably the greatest painter alive, Chuck Close presents amazing new work at Pace Gallery in New York. His ability to calculate color is super-human and his perseverance in the face of dyslexia, prosopagnosia (face-blindness), and partial quadriplegia (!!!) is nothing short of incredible. Google him to your heart’s content…. though I would suggest starting with The Colbert Report)

“Phil”, 2011-2012, oil on canvas, 108-1/2″x 84″ © Chuck Close, courtesy Pace Gallery
Photo by Kerry Ryan McFate / Courtesy Pace Gallery, Private Collection

“Phil” (detail)

In person, these aren’t just images, they are experiences. When you stand nose to nose with one of the giant portraits of Phillip Glass, Kara Walker, Cindy Sherman, Lucas Samaras and more, the surfaces flatten, the colors explode, and the whole thing turns delightfully abstract.

“Kara”, 2012, archival watercolor pigment print, 55-1/2″ x 44″
Made in collaboration with Donald Farnsworth, Magnolia Editions and David Adamson, Adamson Editions © Chuck Close, courtesy Pace Gallery Photo by: Magnolia Editions, courtesy Pace Gallery

“Kara” (detail)

His newest process: computer-aided watercolor. For these, Close selected and arranged swatches of watercolor squares from over 14,000 he hand painted separately. The finished works are printed on watercolor paper WITH watercolor paint in several layers of ONLY cyan, magenta & yellow. Inches from these, you can see the halo of colors that builds up each square.

“Cindy”, 2012, archival watercolor pigment print, 75 x 60″
Made in collaboration with Donald Farnsworth, Magnolia Editions and David Adamson, Adamson Editions
© Chuck Close, courtesy Pace Gallery. Photo by Magnolia Editions, courtesy Pace Gallery

“Cindy” (detail)

New black & white Jaquard Tapestries, based off daguerreotype photographs taken by Close, are breathtaking in person. Not only do they absorb the light in such a way that the images appear more real and three-dimensional than any photograph (more so than on your computer screen right now), but standing only inches away, the surfaces flatten into a network of gridded thread.

“Lucas”, 2011,  jacquard tapestry,  87″ x 74″
© Chuck Close, courtesy Pace Gallery, Photo by Donald Farnsworth, courtesy Pace Gallery

“Lucas” (detail)

What: Paintings, prints & tapestries by Chuck Close
When: October 19, 2012 – December 22, 2012 (gallery closed over Thanksgiving weekend)
Where: Pace Gallery, 534 w 25th St, New York, NY

All images © 2012 Pace Gallery, All Rights Reserved. Unless otherwise specified, all artworks © the artist; all images © Pace Gallery.

David Behringer visits over 200 galleries every month to uncover and share the most exciting contemporary art in New York today. Subscribe to his exclusive weekly newsletter at and learn about his private gallery tours. And be sure to check out his YouTube.