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Chuck Close Up Close Paperback – June 1, 2000
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From Publishers Weekly
According to PW's boxed review, "This beautiful and inspiring book, an ideal example of an artist biography, inspires readers to consider the possibilities of their own creativity." Ages 8-12. (June)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Grade 3 Up?Based on interviews, this is an inspiring look at the contemporary artist who struggled with learning disabilities as a youngster, became a celebrated painter in the late 1960s, and later overcame paralysis to continue creating huge portraits in which the image is created by a multitude of small abstract units. Sometimes Close makes the abstract units by inking his finger and pressing it on the canvas over and over. His way of working, as it developed from photorealism to his current unique style, with its relationship to computer art and photomechanical reproduction, is inherently interesting, while the way his portraits almost magically seem to emerge as one gets far enough away from the canvas is clearly shown in the excellent-quality full-color reproductions. Close's story is doubly inspiring, both for the discipline he has developed and for the importance in his life of friends and family. There is enough information for reports, but the book is engaging enough for pleasure reading. Also included are an essay, "What Is a Portrait?" illustrated with works by other artists; a bibliography (all adult titles); and a list of museums that have works by Close. Individual biographies of contemporary artists are still rather scarce. This one has more information than Mike Venezia's Jackson Pollock (1994) or Andy Warhol (1996, both Children's), and lacks the irreverent cartoons of those titles. Viewers will be instantly captured by the cover of this book, a detail of just the eyes and nose of one of Chuck Close's distinctive self-portraits.?Pam Gosner, formerly at Maplewood Memorial Library, NJ
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top customer reviews
Ethical Magician, Philip Henderson
For one thing he overcomes adversity like no painter I can think of except Monet in the later years who bravely painted on as his vision failed. Or maybe Matisse cutting his shapes to be glued up on panels from the bedside. Close is worth sharing with kids because he lost a Dad at 11, had real learning disabilities, these he did so much to overcome you have to read the book just to appreciate that. And in the telling of that you have insight into artists. I had insight into myself reflecting from it on why art was so compelling. And those disabilities lead him to the process that he uses in his art. He breaks down or grids because of the part to whole issues that "afflict him." If you are reading this but don't know his work then in my own words I'll tell you who Close is. He is an artist that painted/paints portraits so large and so unflinchingly one is startled into rethinking someone that just walked by....to be looking at them is rather like hearing a Dylan tune. Or seeing in a face a lifetime. Nothing is coated with affectation.
Close, when I started working was inspirational in the scale, and the fact that the portraits were such randomized ordinary human beings. Presented so there, so large, so well drawn. Now after paralysis his work has shifted from the early black and white into this interesting grid explosion of color. His story is contained in this art book for children, one of the best I've ever gotten. A beautiful telling. So this book I'd recommend and I think it has application into math, culture, art and talks to children about resilience as well as vision.
One section is entitled "Putting Rocks in My Shoes" this is a Closism because he shares/talks of the danger to the artist of just repeating yourself once you've evolved a style or something that works. I think I have the greatest respect for him for how he has worked to not do this.
In 1988 Close was struck with severe chest pain while giving an art award, and became paralyzed from the neck down. Imagine this. That so hit me at the time because I regarded him so highly and I myself was struggling with a syrinx and issues unlike others know in my daily life. I cannot paint as I once did because of my spine actually. He had a rare artery in his spine collapse, the ultimate tragedy I would think for an artist. Well for any of us. But he has continued to make art. I find that beyond belief. He went to the Rusk Institute to rehab. and regained some use of his arms, with real limits on his hands. So his images today are created with brushes actually strapped to his arms. Now his paintings just burst into color.
This book tells his story. And the thing I always hear is how he was transformed into new artistic directions even by this adversity. I never fail to be amazed at the support of his wife in his doing this, and the way he was trusted to turn things into such positive results. He's really such an inspiration he should be brought before any group that's working with children, and to children to speak to living a life doing what you love. The book tells the story elegantly, simply, in his words.
Now on Close I have to say that his work in portraiture changed the scale, changed the form, from the image of someone "important" being painted to "last forever" to an image of the face showing in everyone the human being that is "there." His work places you before something you really cannot miss. And for me that was that our faces, our being, our lives are told through this "body." He was so willing to see the line, wrinkle, hair, the images often presented without a smile or some affectation, just a "you." You stand there dwarfed by them considering what you don't know, who is this, what is their story, what re my prejudices, my interpretations, do I see them along the lines of my past experiences, what do I feel- revulsion, or a desire to know them...in a way you are there looking at how you look at people, your interpretation is really in view. That's the genius. It had such impact on me as I began my working. In a way he was interested in truth.
I think if you get the book you'll be pleased.Or at the least you'll engage with an artist on their level sharing out to the student. One thing I always admired about Close was his accessibility to students. In this book once more to kids he has quite a bit to share from his story.
The writing in this fine book is sophisticated and endearing, and without being the least bit maudlin it shows how a gifted artist has utilized his challenges to become one of America's foremost representational artists. This is an exceptional little book. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, November 05