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Thinking About Art
This section on classroom activities related to Chuck Close prints includes discussion questions regarding aesthetic considerations.
1. Why would someone want to make a portrait of someone using printmaking instead of just taking a photograph? What’s the difference between a print made from a camera and a print made with one of these printmaking processes?
2. Close makes these portraits so close-up and large, that the head is the only thing in the print. If you could change these portraits to include other things, what would you add? What would you take out? Why would you make these changes?
3. Close’s work is larger than life. How would they be different if they were very small? What size do you like better? Why?
1. Discuss the process of printmaking and how it is possible to make many copies of the same image. Does the value of an artwork lessen with each print that is made? Is the first print as valuable as the last? What is the value of the plate? Compare the value of a print to an original oil painting or sculpture. Discuss the difference.
2. Discuss the use of a master printer in the studio. Does it matter if the artist makes the prints? Is the value of the artwork the same if a master printer does the printing instead of the artist, even if the artist has created the plate?
3. Close refers to these portraits as “heads”. What artistic decisions cause Close’s heads to become impersonal and imposing? Why do you think Close decided to make them in this manner? Consider the titles, size, and the information included in each print.