Chuck Close Goes Underground: Subway Mosaics

This brief notice just out today on SECOND AVENUE SUBWAY ART  – mosaics by Chuck Close!

From New York Times:  Art & Design, Inside ART: by Carol Vogel

“For months now Mr. Close has been meeting with mosaicists from California to Canada, learning about the myriad ways he can create his portraits”

[Ed: They do not mention the mosaic studios - but one wonders if he's talking to the outstanding studio MOSAIKA Art & Design of Montreal, Canada?]

“There has been little good news about the long-awaited Second Avenue subway, what with the noise, dust, barricades, occasional explosions and endless delays. But here’s something positive for art lovers, anyway: Metropolitan Transportation Authority Arts for Transit has commissioned Chuck Close to create a permanent installation for the 86th Street and Second Avenue station, which is scheduled to open in 2016.

Instead of painting portraits, Mr. Close will be creating mosaics. “My work has always had a mosaic-like quality to it,” Mr. Close said in a telephone interview. “So it’s not such a stretch. The idea is to reflect the riding population: old people, young people, people of color, Asians. I’m going to do as many as 12 separate mosaics, mainly from pictures of artists I’ve taken over the years.”

Image

He added, “The richness of the city is all the various cultures coming together, and the richness of my art will be to simultaneously let people in on how many ways there are to build an image.”

But with the exception of John Cage, Mr. Close explained, most people will probably not recognize who’s who. (There will be a baby, perhaps a future artist, based on a photograph of his niece Emma.) Each of the portraits will be 10 feet high, and, all told, more than 1,000 square feet will be dedicated to the artwork.

Baby Emma will be one of the portraits transformed into mosaic for the subway project

The mosaics will be integrated into the walls of the subway station, including a long concourse level. There will be mosaics at the entrances at 86th and 83rd Streets, as well as in various areas throughout the station.

For months now Mr. Close has been meeting with mosaicists from California to Canada, learning about the myriad ways he can create his portraits.

“I’m trying to make each one different,” he said. “Even though they are made of thousands of chunks of glass, there’s a rhythm and a handwriting to it that is similar to painting.

Close’s large scale portraits are made of millions of layered brush strokes

RESOURCES:

Chuck Close Prints: Process and Collaboration book

See MosaicArtNOW coverage of Chuck Close’s work HERE

University of Washington page on Close, he is alumnus HERE

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