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Robert Schonfeld

Chuck Close Printmaking at the Met

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I titled this "printmaking", rather than "prints" because that's what the exhibition is about - the process.


There are surely others out there working in complex methods for producing multiple images, but Close must be the most advanced artist of longstanding reputation to be doing so. This small but intensively didactic exhibition covers a variety of techniques, including woodblock, silkscreen and hand-built images from custom made rag paper. Some prints use more than 250 colors. Some use more than 50 shades of gray. All are in the service of Close's overarching aesthetic, which involves the creation of recognizable images through the juxstaposition of nonrepresentational containers of color or shade. In this exhibition, some of his most famous portraits - self, Alex Katz, Lucas Samaras - are manipulated in a mindboggling variety of ways. If the subject of how a truly accomplished artist gets from point a to point b is of interest to you, this show is a must.


Btw, don't miss the sly Salvador Dali of 1958 titled "Madonna" that is nicely installed just outside the entrance to the Close show. When you go, you'll see what I mean.


Another bonus is that the show is surrounded by galleries brimming with unsurpassed classics of the 20th century. And where else but the Met does a casual lunch spot have a lineup of Maillol torsos fronting a view of Central Park and the Obelisk?

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