Chuck Close Says You Don't Need to Buy Art

Chuck Close is an American artist noted for his highly inventive techniques used to paint the human face. He is best known for his large-scale, Photo-Realist portraits.

In 1988 a spinal blood clot left Close almost completely paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. A brush-holding device strapped to his wrist and forearm, however, allowed him to continue working. In the 1990s he replaced the minute detail of his earlier paintings with a grid of tiles daubed with colourful elliptical and ovoid shapes. Viewed up close, each tile was in itself an abstract painting; when seen from a distance, the tiles came together to form a dynamic deconstruction of the human face. In 1998 the Museum of Modern Art in New York City mounted a major retrospective of Close's portraits. Close has been called a Photo-Realist, a Minimalist, and an Abstract Expressionist but, as the 1998 retrospective proved, his commitment to his unique vision and his evolving techniques defy any easy categorization.

  • Transcript


Chuck Close: But in terms of in general in society, for it to be a time of less extravagance, I suppose then that we are in trouble--because we make luxury items.  We don’t have to buy art.  We have to buy food.  You have to buy shelter, you may have to buy transportation to where you work, and you may have to clothe your body in a way that is appropriate to whatever job you have.  But you sure as hell don’t need to buy art.  

So if you are in a luxury business, you’re going to be in for a time in which people will say, “Gee, do I really need to buy this?”  It’ll be interesting.

Recorded on: February 5, 2009