The Sticky Subjects of Chuck Close

During their August 10th discussion of Guild Hall’s current exhibition, “Chuck Close: Recent Works,” Close and renowned critic Robert Storr discussed the issues of rendering a person in tens of thousands of dots for months at time. Close, witty and dry, offered his ideas on the dirty matter of immortalizing faces.

On repugnant feelings towards his gooey paper portraits:

“I think it depends upon if it’s your face or not.”

On being refined:

“The dirtiest word in the art world is the c-word: Craft...I like things that are tough, have an edginess...but I’m also not against things that are luscious. Why would I limit myself to one attitude?”

On subjects of unflattering portraits:

“It’s painful. They hate ‘em. But I always say no matter how bad I make you look now, in about 20 or 30 years, you’ll say, well, ‘I didn’t look that bad at all.’”

On being asked to paint a portrait:

“If I ever actually made a commissioned portrait, it would be the end of everything. How could I say I’ll make you but not you?”

On his relationship with subjects:

“I don’t like them afterwards, but I always liked them when I did them.”

On conversation:

“I always do all the talking. This is supposed to be a dog and pony show and I’m not sure if I’m the dog or the pony.”

Explore Close’s latest exhibition at Guild Hall on Artsy.