Big Self Portrait
1967 - 1968
Acrylic on canvas
8’ 11” x 6’ 2”
Walker Art Center, Minneapolis
Adapted from http://www.theartstory.org/artist-close-chuck.htm:
"...Big Self-Portrait, a watershed painting that virtually showcases Close's unique method. Abandoning the full-body view, Close turned to one of the oldest traditions anywhere in art history, the self-portrait. Close had partially set out to refute the critic Clement Greenberg's claim that it was impossible for an "advanced" artist to work in portraiture. Closes's untraditional approach involved conceiving of and creating a unique kind of "mug shot," a black-and-white idiom that exacerbated the subject's blemishes and the original photographic distortion caused by the camera. The devotion to the idea of an unsparing, head-on view led him to refuse all commissions, as Close used only his own "mug" and that of close friends for his subjects."
- READ THIS to learn about Close's life, work, influences, and body of work
- WATCH these videos:
1. Close has painted portraits for decades. Why/how has he not gotten bored with that same subject?
2. You are always encouraged to be original - to think for yourself - not to copy others' ideas. But you are also encouraged to know the art that has come before you. Close copied the work of Willem de Kooning directly, over and over. Why is this an accepted practice? What did he learn from making copies?
3. Limitations encourage creativity. What limitations did Close put upon himself in order to strengthen his creative process and growth as an artist?