Chuck Close is an icon, he comes from the oldschool and he is rightfully regarded as a great artist. For this exhibition, which covers 1967 onward, Close's large catalog of nudes are shown.
It is of vital importance to state that Chuck Close is a great artist. Close takes great pictures. Close is awesome.
To quote the press release: “Viewers of Nudes 1967-2014 will see a record of body types and grooming preferences spanning the latter half of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st" which is code for “Warning! Public Hair”. This is endemic of the thesis of the exhibition: To look at pretty ladies, even those with pubic hair. The exhibition focuses on female nudes, but does so in a way that demonstrates the time they were in. That does not just mean body hair, that means that most of the female nudes are in someway sexual, always young and beautiful, and that is fine, everyone loves naked young women, soft curves, intense or darting eyes. Nudes is a retrospective, it's looking back onto the past, and as we look with the jaded 21st century eyes of pessimists for whom sagging breasts, regardless of the size that the print is blown up to, are not shocking or new. In fact some of it seems to verge on sexist and objective.
Chuck Close did his part – he went to court, his work was called obscene and he polarized the art world and stuck a finger up to the conservatives. Salute him for the work he did to get us this far, and look back with respect.
Know your past and know why it is of the past. To quote Sonic Youth “Kill Yr Idols”.
Review by John Hutt
Photos by Tanya Kiseleva