A Couple of Ways of Doing Something: Photographs by Chuck Close, Poems by Bob Holman

Chuck Close - Keith
Keith, 1972
Chuck Close
Mezzotint
Purchase: Friends of the Museum
Pioneering American painter and photographer Chuck Close, who made his name in the 1970s as part of the Photorealist movement, is best known for his large scale depictions of the human face. What most people don’t realize is that Close suffers from a neurological disorder known as prosopagnosia—essentially “face blindness”—that prevents him from recognizing anyone no matter how many times he has seen them. It makes sense then that Close’s portraits are only of other artists, family, and friends—faces worth remembering.

By reducing faces to a two-dimensional space, Close finds himself able to commit them to memory. He has said that while he has no memory at all for people in real space, he finds that he has an almost, well, photographic memory of them once they are flattened out.

An exhibition of Close’s work will be on display at the David Owsley Museum of Art Ball State University when it presents A Couple of Ways of Doing Something: Photographs by Chuck Close, Poems by Bob Holman. The exhibition features intimate daguerreotypes of leading contemporary artists and includes examples of Close’s other works in a variety of media, including photogravures and large-scale Jacquard tapestries.

“It is slow work,” said Director Peter Blume of Close’s chosen art form. “These works of art are very large,
so he might only produce four a year. But the challenge of image-making is in the medium, many of which are now archaic.”

Exhibtion Date: January 15, 2010 - March 14, 2010