“Chuck Close,” produced, directed and edited by Marion Cajori. Directors of photography, Mead Hunt, Ken Kobland and David Leitner; song “Portrait of Chuck” by Philip Glass, performed by Bruce Levingston; released by Art Kaleidoscope Foundation. Film Forum, New York, NY. Running time: 1 hour 56 minutes. Check out a “brushcam” Quicktime movie of Close applying paint.
“Chuck Close Prints: Process and Collaboration” organized by the Blaffer Gallery, the Art Museum of the University of Houston, has been traveling around the country since 2003. Now CC fans can see this compelling documentary-film portrait of Close’s own life. In the NYTimes, Matt Zoller Seitz reports. “This film lets Mr. Close frame the highlights of his life and career, including his upbringing in strait-laced 1950s Monroe, Wash.; the pivotal role he played in the 1960s and ’70s downtown art scene; the spinal-column blood clot that landed him in a wheelchair in 1988 and made it difficult to paint without mechanical aids and help from assistants; and his struggle to create innovative, significant representational paintings in an era when photography seems to have rendered such art irrelevant. More mesmerizing, however, is the attention that Ms. Cajori, who died in August of 2006, devotes to Mr. Close’s process, which entails blowing up photographs by way of a grid system and rerendering each section as a huge, abstracted square. The technique somehow combines uncanny intimacy and intellectual distance, much like Ms. Cajori’s splendid movie, which captures Mr. Close at work via a combination of probing close-ups of paint-daubed canvas and wide shots that situate him within his work space.” Read more.