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. What is Photorealism? How did Close's later work maintain an element of Photorealism while also moving away from it?
2. Can you find a similarity between Cézanne's focus on still life and Close's focus on portraiture?
3. Limitations encourage creativity. What limitations (both inherited and self-imposed) have affected the creative development of Close's work?