“While photography is the easiest medium in which to be competent,” Chuck Close says in the clip above for the “Artists & Alchemists” documentary feature, “I think it is the hardest medium in which to have a distinctive personal vision.”
Known for his unparalleled attention to detail in hyperrealist portraiture, Close explains in conveying that vision his predilection for using immensely revealing daguerreotypes, plates that capture just about the widest possible range of highlights and shadows with the use of strobe lights that capture quite literately the power of the sun.
This clip offers a bit of background on the labor intensive process that went into his series A Couple of Ways of Doing Something, on view at the Wichita Art Museum through this Sunday, April 15, 2012. The series features fifteen massive prints of the artist’s world-renowned friends (Cindy Sherman, Philip Glass, James Turrell, Laurie Anderson, to name a few) presented with microscopic intimacy, each alongside a poem by Bob Holman. The work was inspired in part by a collaborative series of lithographs done by poet/curator Frank O’Hara and artist Larry Rivers in the late 50s, as Close explains briefly in the accompanying interview from the 2006 Aperture monograph A Couple of Ways of Doing Something with Lyle Rexer, author of the Edge of Vision.
As photography moves forward becoming more widespread and accessible, in an era when the premium put on absolute originality is largely in question, sometimes reaching back for precedent can be as fruitful as rediscovering archaic technology. Or as Close puts it, “In 1840 virtually everything I love about photography was already there.”
Chuck Close: A Couple of Ways of Doing Something
Through Sunday, April 15, 2012
$7 adults, $5 seniors, and FREE for children
Wichita Art Museum
1400 West Museum Boulevard