Chuck Close on Race
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.
Chuck Close: There are two events in my lifetime that are markers in that respect.
I was in my loft on the southern end of Green Street when Martin Luther Kind was assassinated. This was ’68, and the SoHo was not SoHo yet. Which is rags and rats and there were no streetlights and there were only like 20 people who lived between Canal Street and Houston Street. So my wife was in a loft at the other end of the Green and Houston.
So, I left my loft at Canal Street and I started walking towards Houston. As I was walking the street, it was very dark, there were almost no lights, I saw a man approach me, a big man, and he was sort of lumbering along and walking quite fast. All of a sudden he came into a street light and I saw the man look at me – a black man – and I saw him look at me and it was the first time that I ever felt that a black man hated me just because I was white. I didn’t think that with Martin Luther King dying, but I was being held responsible, and I absolutely understand that.
And that was a seachange in America. I just find it so moving that from ’68 until now, in my lifetime, I was able to see this change, and to see America embrace the black man. It’s very moving.
Chuck Close: I was at Yale, in graduate school, and Malcolm X was standing in a corner handing a leaflets and he was easy to recognize because he had red hair. The only black man with red hair you’ve ever seen. And it was not dyed; it was actually red. I went up to him and I – white liberal boy, I said what can I do? And he said, “Get out of the way.” So, I thought, well.
Recorded on: February 5, 2009
The contemporary artist talks about where he was when Martin Luther King, Jr. died and meeting Malcolm X.
We take fewer mental pictures per second.
- Recent memories run in our brains like sped-up old movies.
- In childhood, we capture images in our memory much more quickly.
- The complexities of grownup neural pathways are no match for the direct routes of young brains.
Both panoramic and detailed, this infographic manages to show both the size and distribution of world religions.
- At a glance, this map shows both the size and distribution of world religions.
- See how religions mix at both national and regional level.
- There's one country in the Americas without a Christian majority – which?
Melting ice is turning up bodies on Mt. Everest. This isn't as shocking as you'd think.
- Mt. Everest is the final resting place of about 200 climbers who never made it down.
- Recent glacial melting, caused by global warming, has made many of the bodies previously hidden by ice and snow visible again.
- While many bodies are quite visible and well known, others are renowned for being lost for decades.
The bodies that remain in view are often used as waypoints for the living. Some of them are well-known markers that have earned nicknames.
For instance, the image above is of "Green Boots," the unidentified corpse named for its neon footwear. Widely believed to be the body of Tsewang Paljor, the remains are well known as a guide point for passing mountaineers. Perhaps it is too well known, as the climber David Sharp died next to Green Boots while dozens of people walked past him- many presuming he was the famous corpse.
A large area below the summit has earned the discordant nickname "rainbow valley" for being filled with the bright and colorfully dressed corpses of maintainers who never made it back down. The sight of a frozen hand or foot sticking out of the snow is so common that Tshering Pandey Bhote, vice president of Nepal National Mountain Guides Association claimed: "most climbers are mentally prepared to come across such a sight."
Other bodies are famous for not having been found yet. Sandy Irvine, the partner of George Mallory, may have been one of the first two people to reach the summit of Everest a full thirty years before Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay did it. Since they never made it back down, nobody knows just how close to the top they made it.
Mallory's frozen body was found by chance in the nineties without the Kodak cameras he brought up to record the climb with. It has been speculated that Irvine might have them and Kodak says they could still develop the film if the cameras turn up. Circumstantial evidence suggests that they died on the way back down from the summit, Mallory had his goggles off and a photo of his wife he said he'd put at the peak wasn't in his coat. If Irving is found with that camera, history books might need rewriting.
As Everest's glaciers melt its morbid history comes into clearer view. Will the melting cause old bodies to become new landmarks? Will Sandy Irvine be found? Only time will tell.
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