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Art and Artists
 Africa, Sierra Leone
 Chuck Close
 James Ensor
 Frank Gehry
 Robert Gwathmey
 Marsden Hartley
 Pepón Osorio
 James Rosenquist
 Ernest Whiteman

Inner Worlds What is Art?  Environment  Designing Spaces and Places
Chuck Close
Discussion Questions/Activities

What do you think Chuck Close means when he says his works are "paintings first and portraits second"?

Think about other self-portraits you have seen. You may want to collect or review self-portraits by these artists: Van Gogh, Rembrandt, O'Keeffe, ans Kalo. How is Close's painting like or different from these self-portraits? One difference is that Close worked from a photograph while the other artists may have looked in a mirror.

From looking at Big Self-Portrait, what do you think about Chuck Close's personality? Why? Do you think Close wanted to tell you about his personality through the Kiki painting? Why or why not?

Would you have kept painting after being paralyzed in 1988 if you had been Chuck Close? What made him continue?

Which portrait do you like the best, Kikior Big Self-Portrait? Why? What do you think about the cigarette in Big Self-Portrait?

Close, Big Self-Portrait
Chuck Close, Big Self-Portrait
Close, Kiki
Chuck Close, Kiki

Make two self-portraits. In one try to focus on the details of your appearance. In the other try to show your personality or inner self. Which portrait was easier to make? Which one do you prefer? Why?

Using the grid system used by Chuck Close, mark a photograph of your head and shoulders in 1/4-inch squares. (See below.) Transfer the shape in each box to your drawing paper by using the technique described below. You may finish the portrait using a pencil technique as in Big Self-Portrait or the color dot technique as in Kiki. Concentrate on each square as a mini-artwork.

Grid for School Picture Grid Drawing
Using a 1:2 ratio, transfer the shapes from each box on the grid from photo to artwork.

Angell, R. "Life Work", The New Yorker, vol, 71. No. 44 Jan 15, 1996

Benzi, F., E. Busmanti and A. SbrilliThe History of Art, New York: U.S. Gallery Books. 1989.

Brommer, G. F. (ed.). Discovering Art History. Worcester, Mass: Davis. 1988.

Grundberg, A. "Blurring the lines--dots? between camera and brush" The New York Times, 1988, October 16

Faulkner, R. Art Today, New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc. 1969.

Fineberg, J. Art Since 1940. New York: Harry N. Abrams. 1995.

Kramer, H. "Chuck Close's break with photography," The New York Times, p. 29. Sunday April 19, 1981.

Mayer, R. A Dictionary of Art Terms, New York: Harper & Row, Inc. 1969.

Russell, J. "Chuck Close," The New York Times, Friday, Oct. 7 1998

Swartz, S. (ed.) Walker Art Center - Painting and Sculpture from the Collection New York: Rizzoli Publications, New York and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. 1990.

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Inner Worlds | What Is Art? | Environment | Designing Spaces and Places | Identity
About the Art | About the Artist | Discussion Questions/Activities | Teacher Lessons