Customer Reviews: Chuck Close: Up Close
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on October 14, 2000
I'm an artist and art teacher, and I recently read this book tomy high school art students as an introduction to gridded portraiture.Don't let the age 9-12 reading level put you off--my high schoolstudents really enjoyed learning about Chuck Close, and were impressedby his work and his life story. In addition to having some greatpictures of Close's work, the book has a lot to say about the artist'sability to develop strategies to deal with his learning disabilities,and his perseverance to continue to work despite an injury that lefthim paralyzed from the neck down. Many of the students could relateto Close's learning differences, and viewed his story as veryinspirational. I like this book so much, in fact, that I'mrecommending it on my website where I have a detailed lesson planbased on teaching kids portraiture via a similar gridded method! END
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on September 28, 2001
Both elementary and high school readers get something from this book. The straightforward prose coveys this artist's powerful talent, humanity and relevance without being sappy. My students like to be read to when they work - its great to see them process and internalize this information as they struggle with these skills and concepts. Clean design and beautiful photos lay it all out simply. If more art history grad students would get to the point this well and this fast, I could coach art history as a sport.
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on February 21, 1999
This is a clear and inspiring story of the life and art of a great american artist. (and not as expensive and art speaky as a catalogue raisonne) Good for children and adults. I highly recommend it!!!!!!
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on December 1, 2003
Greenberg and Jordan's book is a pretty good introduction to the work of one of our modern masters, Chuck Close. Chuck Close is a phenomenal painter, both before the onset of his disease and even more so after. You won't find many books on him, or many that contain his work. Until something a bit more 'adult' or comprehensive comes out, this is a good selection. It discusses his life and work. There is also a brief chapter on what is a portrait. They finish it off with a list of museums that have some of Chuck Close's work. It's a nice intro to a great artist.
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Chuck Close has been a bridge for introducing the world of possibilities to children and adults alike who are physically challenged in some way. What Christopher Reeve did so eloquently in speaking to us all, so does Chuck Close. A gifted artist, Close's now highly regarded works demand our attention. By using his techniques developed because of his paralysis, he has magnificently demonstrated how portraits are built from cells/cellules that when viewed up close appear to be a gorgeous abstraction of oversized pointillistic units only to come profoundly into focus with distance. He has re-educated our eyes and the way we visually dissect images.

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
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on June 23, 2009
I have a lot of reasons to admire Close. So I was very happy many years ago when a Principal gave us each $500 to buy books for our rooms. It's happened once in my career. All the rest I bought. This book I then got and have found very valuable in lessons Ive done on portraiture.

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 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 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.
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VINE VOICEon January 16, 2011
Chuck Close, you can never get close enough to understand the beauty of this wonderful man. We are blessed to live in a time when we can observe, appreciate, and love the creative genius that is Chuck Close. He will show you wisdom, humor, and the human condition in one piece of work. The entire world of man is reflected in the timeless art creations of Chuck Close. I say you can never get Close Enough.

Ethical Magician, Philip Henderson
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on August 30, 2015
My daughter bought this book in the seventh grade for a semester long report on Chuck Close. Our whole family fell in love with him. Buy the book, read it, and love it.
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on January 16, 2012
This was not what I is like a book for a child. I was disappointed, unhappy and that is whay I am returning it.
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on February 9, 2015
This book beautifully shows how Chuck Close creates his pieces. Very interesting. I donated it to the my kids' school.
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