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Chuck Close: Maquettes and Multi-Part Work (1966-2009)

May 7–June 6, 2009

32 East 57th Street, 9th Floor, New York, NY


Installation Views

Selected Works

Pace/MacGill Gallery is pleased to present Chuck Close: Maquettes and Multi-Part Work (1966-2009), a selection of daguerreotypes, digital prints, maquettes and Polaroids. A companion exhibition of Close’s recent paintings and tapestries will simultaneously be on view from May 1 through June 20 at PaceWildenstein’s Chelsea gallery (534 West 25th Street).

Recognized as one of the preeminent artists of the Post-war era, Close has embraced a variety of media throughout his career in order to explore art making at its most fundamental levels. Photography stands at the core of many of these investigations. Whether ultimately evolving into a painting, hologram, work on paper, or tapestry, photographic material has been integral to Close’s work since the late 1960s. A direct example of the primary relationship photography has to Close’s painting is Maquette for Big Nude (1966) which was used to compose an early iconic large-scale canvas, Big Nude (1967). Close’s maquettes are comprised of a Polaroid or gelatin silver print that is cropped and gridded, thereby enabling the incremental translation of visual data from one medium to another; this system of transcription merges both mechanical and manual processes. Close’s enthusiasm for alternative methods of artistic production and rigorously constructed (and deconstructed) images inspired his experimentation with the earliest form of picture-making: the daguerreotype. Invented in 1839, the daguerreotype records a density of visual information with superb clarity. Close’s daguerreotypes of nude torsos explore the expressive potential of this technical process and reflect yet another way of seeing by presenting a meticulously defined image on an intimate scale.

Commonly choosing friends, family, and himself as subjects, Close’s portraits also include cultural and political figures such as dancer Bill T. Jones, supermodel Kate Moss, and former United States president Bill Clinton. While working with large-format 20 x 24 and 40 x 80 Polaroid cameras in 1977, Close discovered that portraits originally intended for use in maquettes could remain independent, final works of art. Close’s Self-Portrait Diptych (2005) is a giant Polaroid, measuring 108 x 88 inches overall, that powerfully stands on its own. Close’s desire to impose the grid-based system of his paintings on the formal composition of the photographs themselves also resulted in large-scale Polaroid works such as Self-Portrait (2008), comprised of numerous 20 x 24 Polaroids.

Chuck Close (b. 1940, Monroe, WA) received a BA from the University of Washington, Seattle, in 1961, and both a BFA and an MFA from the Yale University School of Art and Architecture, New Haven, in 1963 and 1964.

Close is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including a Fulbright grant to study in Austria (1964-65); a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship (1973); the International Center of Photography Infinity Award for Art (1990); the Academy Institute Award in Art from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, New York (1991); the New York State Governor’s Award (1997); the National Medal of Arts (2000); and gold medals from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters (2004), the American Academy in Rome (2004), and the National Arts Club (2005).

His work can be found in private and public collections worldwide, such as the Art Institute of Chicago; the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; the International Museum of Photography at the George Eastman House, Rochester, New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Tate Gallery, London; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

Monographs of Close’s work include: Chuck Close (1987); Chuck Close in conversation with 27 of his subjects (1997); Chuck Close: Life and Work 1988-1995 (1995); Chuck Close Up Close (1998); Chuck Close Daguerreotypes (2002); and Chuck Close: Work (2007).

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