Regulating Auction Houses
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: The one area of the art world, which is regulated is the auction market. And it’s the most questionable aspect of the art world as far as I’m concerned.
But what would you do, license art dealers? Do you have to have a license like you’re going to sell hot dogs in Central Park? You don’t want the kind of license you have to give them. But what kind of license are you going to give an art critic?
Or are we going to have officially sanctioned art dealers? There was that in Soviet Russia and Communist China; where you have the artists and the people who are dealing with that work officially government sanctioned, and they’re making work of a propagandistic nature that supports the values and concerns of the nation. Clearly I don’t think we want that.
Recorded on: February 5, 2009
The contemporary artist refutes the notion that auction houses need government oversight.
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