UMass Amherst Hosts Celebration for Acclaimed Artist Chuck Close on April 16

AMHERST, Mass. - The University of Massachusetts will host a special celebration on Thurs. April 16 for former UMass art instructor and honorary degree recipient Chuck Close on the occasion of his three-month (Feb. 26-May 26) retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York City.

The event will take place in New York City between 4 and 8:30 p.m. Participants will view the show at MOMA located at 11 West 53rd Street from 4-6 p.m. Following the show, participants will attend a party at Close''s studio at 20 Bond Street at the corner of Bond and Lafayette in Soho. The event is sponsored by the College of Humanities and Fine Arts and the art department at UMass. (Invited guests should contact the UMass Alumni Relations Office at 1-800/456-UMAS to RSVP by April 10.)

Close, who taught at UMass from 1965-67, is known throughout the world for his unique and multifaceted renderings of human faces. Although his work has changed over the past 30 years, his paintings are unmistakable: large-scale renderings (up to eight by nine feet) of a single face composed of a mosaic-like grid of dashes, diamonds, dots, and x''s. Early in his career, he often worked in stark black and white "driver''s license faces." Currently, he works in almost tropical colors, such as flamingo pinks, Miami aquas, and lime green.

In 1988, Close suffered a spinal artery collapse that left him paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. He was able to continue his career after working with a physical therapist to engineer a special hand brace and brush holder and developing a maneuverable easel along with a device to raise and lower his canvas so he can work from a seated position.

Born in Monroe, Wash., in 1940, Close holds a bachelor''s degree from the University of Washington in Seattle and a B.F.A. and an M.F.A. from the Yale University School of Art and Architecture. He received an honorary degree from the University of Massachusetts at a special art convocation in 1995.