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Chuck Close Prints: Process and Collaboration

May 14 - August 22, 2004


Miami Art Museum is pleased to present Chuck Close Prints: Process and Collaboration.  Long celebrated as one of America's foremost painters, Chuck Close is also a master of the artistic language of printmaking.  Direct from its presentation at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, this exhibition chronicles the genius of Chuck Close in the medium in which he has done some of his most exciting work.  In Miami, the exhibition has been coordinated by MAM Assistant Director for Programs and Senior Curator, Peter Boswell. Included in MAM's presentation is a new woodcut self-portrait that has never been exhibited before.

Chuck Close will be visiting Miami in preparation for MAM's presentation of the exhibition. While in Miami, Mr. Close will present a public lecture on May 15, at the Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables, and will also be speaking to students with disabilities about his experiences with dyslexia and other physical challenges, at MAM on May 12.

In Close's work the human face becomes a series of gridded abstractions that create a whole image when assembled in the eye of the viewer.  Curated by Terrie Sultan, director of Blaffer Gallery, the Art Museum of the University of Houston, Chuck Close Prints features 118 works dating from 1972 to 2002, illustrating the artist's range of invention in etching, aquatint, lithography, handmade paper, direct gravure, silkscreen, traditional Japanese woodcut, and reduction linocut.  

Close has said that his experiments in printmaking have been enormously influential on his paintings. "Prints have moved me in my unique work more than anything else has. Prints change the way I think about things." 

In the course of his career, Close has overcome a series of difficulties; his father died when he was still a boy, his mother became seriously ill and the artist himself was dyslexic -- a condition which for lack of an accurate diagnosis, led him to be labeled "slow" in school.  Nonetheless, Close graduated magna cum laude from the University of Washington and earned an MFA with highest honors from Yale University.

In 1988, at the age of 49, Close was at the height of his career as a painter, when he was stricken with a spinal blood clot that left him a partial quadriplegic. The art world was stunned.  Close was forced to come to grips with living the rest of his life in a motorized wheelchair with only limited use of his hands and legs.  Chuck Close not only found a way to return to painting, he also developed new techniques that catapulted him to an even more prominent place among artists worldwide. 

This exhibition puts the spotlight on the decidedly interactive approach Close takes with his prints.  While the production of a painting can occupy Close for many months, it is not unusual for one print to take more than two years from conception to final edition.  The relationship between Close and the master printers has become key to the creation of his work. Chuck Close Prints constitutes a remarkable self-portrait of the creative drive, vision and intellect of one of America's most important living artists. 

"Chuck Close has triumphed over immense difficulties to carve out a singular place for himself among artists," said MAM Director Suzanne Delehanty. "This is a monumental exhibition and we're pleased to present it in South Florida as part of our commitment to bringing the very best in art to our community."

The exhibition is accompanied by a fully-illustrated 160-page catalogue published by Princeton University Press, available at the MAM Store.  In connection with the exhibition, MAM has published an exhibition brochure fully detailing the museum's extensive programming. This illustrated take-home brochure provides background information on the exhibition. Available in the galleries free of charge to the public.

Chuck Close Prints: Process and Collaboration was organized by Blaffer Gallery, the Art Museum of the University of Houston. The exhibition and publication have been generously underwritten by the Neuberger Berman Foundation.  The exhibition was made possible, in part, by major grants from the Lannan Foundation and Jon and Mary Shirley, and by generous grants from The Eleanor and Frank Freed Foundation and Houston Endowment Inc. Financial support has also been provided by Jonathan and Marita Fairbanks, Dorene and Frank Herzog, Andrew and Gretchen McFarland, Carey Shuart and The Wortham Foundation, Inc., with additional funds from Karen and Eric Pulaski, Suzanne Slesin and Michael Steinberg, and Texas Commission on the Arts. In Miami, the exhibition is made possible by Lehman Brothers and Neuberger Berman, a Lehman Brothers Company. Additional support is provided by MAM's Annual Exhibition Fund.


About the Curator

Peter Boswell has been assistant director for programs and senior curator at MAM since 1999. He is responsible for the growth of MAM's permanent collection as well as the museum's exhibitions, educational programs and publications.  Mr. Boswell holds a BA in Art History from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MA in Art History from Stanford University.  At MAM, Mr. Boswell led the curatorial effort behind the exhibition Miami Currents: Linking Community and Collection (2002) and has organized exhibitions for the museum's New Work series of the work of Donald Lipski (2002); Teresita Fernández (2002); and Roberto Behar and Rosario Marquardt (2003).


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