Corcoran Presents Chuck Close Prints: Process And Collaboration

Jun 03, 2010, 13:38 ET from Corcoran Gallery of Art

July 3–September 12, 2010

WASHINGTON, June 3 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- This summer, the Corcoran Gallery of Art will present Chuck Close Prints: Process and Collaboration, the first-ever survey to examine the artist's extensive and groundbreaking work in the field of printmaking. With more than 100 finished works – two new and never-before-exhibited – grids, and proofs on display, the exhibition reveals the experimentation and processes that drive this innovative American artist. Chuck Close Prints: Process and Collaboration will be on view from July 3 to September 12, 2010.



"One of the most influential artists of our time, Chuck Close has consistently advanced the art of printmaking. Through his collaborations with printers, and with his interest in methods and technologies, Close generates prints that acknowledge and utilize traditional processes but also propel them into a new era. The results are visually stunning," says Amanda Maddox, assistant curator of photography and media arts, who is organizing curator for the exhibition at the Corcoran.

Born in 1940 in Monroe, Washington, contemporary artist Chuck Close is widely known for creating large-scale portraits in mediums that range from painting and drawing to photography and printmaking. As a student at Yale, where he earned an MFA in printmaking and painting, Close was primarily interested in abstract painting. By the late 1960s, he abandoned this way of working and began to create intricate, monumental drawings and paintings of himself, family members and friends. Always interested in the process required to generate his portraits, Close has consistently turned to printmaking to experiment with visual ideas, resulting in some of his most captivating and accomplished works.

In 1972, with the help of printer Kathan Brown of Crown Point Press, Close created his first print as an established artist by revisiting the 17th-century technique of mezzotint, no longer in vogue. He has since expanded his technical repertoire as a printmaker, engaging with processes as diverse as woodcut, silk screen, aquatint, and spitbite etching.

The exhibition includes seminal works that range from Close's first print, Keith/Mezzotint, 1972, to the ambitious 113- color Japanese-style ukiyo-e woodcut Emma, produced 30 years later. On display are select matrices and proofs that illustrate the steps involved in making a print, as well as examples of Close's work in other media. Recent and new works by Close, such as Roy Paper/Pulp, 2009–2010 and Selfportrait (anamorphic), 2007, will also be shown in the exhibition for the first time.

Attracted to the limitations and difficulties of printmaking, Close has routinely collaborated with a community of master printers to produce his elaborate works. He has engineered new techniques and approaches that have greatly expanded the possibilities of the medium. Though he continues to refine and develop his methods of working, he consistently starts from photographs that feature only the heads of his subjects, and he employs a grid system to transcribe those portraits into finished prints. Close occasionally returns to subjects years later, re-using and repurposing an image to inspire new works.

When making a print, Close and his collaborators complete every stage of their process—from translating an image onto a matrix, to carving wood blocks, etching plates, and applying multiple layers of color—by hand. The mammoth scale and technical complexity of many of his portraits, combined with this time-consuming process, often means that a single print may take years to complete. Close welcomes this challenge, stating that "when you have very strict limitations, you have to be…very creative to figure out a way of getting them to work for you. I found that kind of problem-solving very interesting."

Chuck Close Prints: Process and Collaboration will be on view for free Saturdays starting Memorial Day Weekend (May 29) through Labor Day Weekend (September 4). In addition to free admission to the museum's permanent collection and all temporary exhibitions, Free Summer Saturdays feature unique, exhibition-related programs. Programs—many of which feature staff, faculty, and students—are planned to celebrate the Corcoran's collection and temporary exhibitions, including Helios: Eadweard Muybridge in a Time of Change and Chuck Close Prints: Process and Collaboration. Children and adults create hand-made paper in the "Pulp to Paper" workshop, and work together on a large-scale portrait project in several community art projects, highlighting the collaborative nature of Chuck Close's work.

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. Additional support was made possible by the Lannan Foundation, Jon and Mary Shirley, The Eleanor and Frank Freed Foundation and Houston Endowment Inc., Jonathan and Marita Fairbanks, Dorene and Frank Herzog, Andrew and Gretchen McFarland, Carey Shuart, The Wortham Foundation, Inc., Karen and Eric Pulaski, Suzanne Slesin and Michael Steinberg, and Texas Commission on the Arts.


The Corcoran's hours of operation are as follows: Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; closed Monday and Tuesday. Admission to Chuck Close: Process and Collaboration is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors (62+) and students (with valid ID), children 12 and under, military (with valid ID) and Members enter for free. Admission to the museum will be FREE on Saturdays from May 29 to September 4.

For more information, including special Free Summer Saturdays programming, visit


An Evening with Chuck Close and Christopher Finch

Co-presented by VSA – The International Organization on Arts and Disability

Wednesday, June 30, 6:30 p.m.

$20 Members; $25 Public

Chuck Close is one of the most respected, iconic, groundbreaking, and beloved artists of our time. On this intimate evening, Close speaks about his life, career, process, and inspiration with his biographer Christopher Finch. In 1968, Finch was instrumental in acquiring the artist's first major painting for the Walker Art Center, and their friendship has continued for over 40 years. Following the conversation, Finch's recently published book, Chuck Close: Life (Prestel, 2010) is available for purchase, and audience members are invited to a private viewing of the Corcoran's special exhibition Chuck Close Prints: Process and Collaboration.

Chuck Close

Wednesday, July 21, 7 p.m.

Members $8; Public $12

Chuck Close is an illuminating depiction of one of the world's leading contemporary painters. Directed by the late Marion Cajori, the film masterfully captures the process and technique used by Close to create his iconic portraits. Through a series of intimate interviews featuring not only Close, but also his friends, colleagues, and subjects, Cajori creates an in-depth portrait of the artist and his methodology.


Corcoran Gallery of Art membership offers free year-round admission, special access to the Corcoran's renowned permanent collection, traveling exhibitions, and discounts at the Shop and Cafe as well as free or reduced admission to lectures, films, and concerts. Membership supports exceptional art exhibitions, educational programs and significant outreach efforts to underserved youth in the local community. Member Preview Night for Chuck Close: Process and Collaboration is Thursday, July 1, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Curators and Public Education Staff will lead exclusive Member tours at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Members receive an additional 10% off purchases at the Gift Shop and an additional 10% off at the Corcoran Café for a total 20% Member discount. For more information, visit


The Corcoran Gallery of Art, a privately funded institution, was founded in 1869 as Washington's first and largest nonfederal museum of art. It is known internationally for its distinguished collection of historical and modern American art as well as contemporary art, photography, European painting, sculpture and the decorative arts. Founded in 1890, the Corcoran College of Art + Design is Washington's only four-year college of art and design offering BFA degrees in Digital Media Design, Fine Art, Graphic Design and Photography; a five-year Bachelor of Fine Arts/ Master of Arts in Teaching (BFA/MAT); and a two-year Master of Arts (MA) in Interior Design or History of Decorative Arts. The College's Continuing Education program offers part-time credit and non-credit classes for children and adults and draws more than 2,500 participants each year.

For more information about the Corcoran Gallery of Art and College of Art + Design, visit


Kristin Guiter, Director of Public Relations,, (202) 639-1867

Rachel Cothran, Public Relations Coordinator,, (202) 639-1833

SOURCE Corcoran Gallery of Art