Chuck Close, one of the world’s most renowned artists, whose life is a study in overcoming severe adversary, will be the Museum of Contemporary Art’s (MCA) 2014-2015 Sydney International Art Series artist, Minister for Tourism, Major Events and the Arts, George Souris and MCA Director Elizabeth Ann Macgregor, announced today.
Close will be bringing a major show of his work to Australia for the first time, in a an exclusive for The Sydney International Art Series, which is supported by the NSW Government and brings the world’s most outstanding exhibitions to the State each year.
The 73-year-old artist has won world acclaim by creating large-scale, photo-realist portraits that have creatively blurred the distinction between photography and painting. Close continued to produce magnificent artworks despite severe paralyses from a spinal injury in 1988. He also suffers from Prosopagnosia, also known as face blindness, in which he is unable to recognize faces. By painting portraits, he is better able to recognize and remember faces.
“This is a great coup for NSW. Chuck Close’s portraits are among the most recognisable in the world and knowing the many hurdles this man has had to overcome; it makes his art even more respected and desirable,” Mr Souris said.
“The Sydney International Art Series is a key highlight of the NSW Events Calendar. The MCA has secured leading artists for the Series including Anish Kapoor and Yoko Ono and now Chuck Close. His exhibition, exclusive to Sydney, will bring art lovers from around the world and across our nation to see his unique exhibition as well as the unique experiences on offer in NSW.
“Since the Sydney International Art Series began, more than $80 million has been generated for NSW and over 1 million visitors attracted across its two world class galleries – the MCA and Art Gallery of New South Wales – with about 100,000 interstate and overseas visitors coming specifically to Sydney to see the exhibitions.”
Chuck Close’s large-scale, photo-based portrait paintings have attracted audiences around the world. His painting ‘Bob’, hanging in the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra, is one of the Gallery’s most popular. Renowned for his highly inventive techniques used to portray the human face, Close has had more than 200 solo exhibitions in more than 20 countries, including major retrospective exhibitions at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid, and most recently at the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia.
In his Sydney International Art Series exhibition at the MCA, audiences will encounter the artist’s extraordinary range of invention in etching, aquatint, lithography, handmade paper, direct gravure, silkscreen, traditional Japanese woodcut, and reduction linocut, among others. The exhibition will feature images ranging from early mezzotints to monumental later works, as well as water colour pigment prints and a new series of Jacquard tapestries.
MCA Director Elizabeth Ann Macgregor OBE said: “The MCA is thrilled to be working with this artist to bring his work to Australia as part of The Sydney International Art Series. Chuck Close’s portraits demonstrate a boldness and inventiveness that, I believe, will excite and engage audiences from across Australia and overseas.”