Chuck Close died in August 2021, and I was asked by NPR to report on his life and work.
Close hailed from a generation of American artists that infused the conceptual art world of the 1960s with a more humanist and some might say romantic sensibility. For Close, this meant embracing the most passe of all art forms at the time - portraiture. His brash, large-scale, photorealist portraits were an almost immediate hit. One of his most iconic images was of himself as a shirtless, confident rebel with wispy hair, thick-rimmed glasses and a cigarette dangling from his lips.