Thursday, September 27, 2012

Chuck Close fundraiser for Obama Victory Fund

Chuck Close - Obama (large), 2012
Archival watercolor pigment print (45°) on Hahnemühle rag paper
Image: 66 1/4 x 54 3/4 in. Paper: 75 x 60 in. Edition of 10, published by Magnolia Editions

Magnolia Editions is pleased to announce the publication of two tapestry editions and three print editions by Chuck Close, depicting President Barack Obama and issued as a fundraiser for the Obama Victory Fund.

Close, who does not accept commissions, has previously sold his art at auction to raise funds for the campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Al Gore, and has created celebrated tapestry portraits of various friends and contemporaries including Vice President Gore and artists including Roy Lichtenstein, Philip Glass, and Cindy Sherman. After being appointed to the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, Close offered to photograph Obama and was subsequently allotted an eight minute visit with the President to create a portrait. Fortunately, Obama ended up staying at the session for over an hour, in part because of the time needed to switch to the black and white camera Close uses to create photographs for his tapestries. The first tapestry portrait from this sitting, Obama I, was unveiled at the Mint Museum in North Carolina in early September in honor of the Democratic National Convention.

Chuck Close - Obama II, 2012
Jacquard tapestry; 94 x 76 in. approximately. Edition of 10, published by Magnolia Editions

Close's two tapestry portraits of the President, Obama I and Obama II, are black and white portraits woven from Polaroid photographs; they are editions of 10, priced at $100,000 each. The editions on paper are archival watercolor prints, issued in three sizes and based on the same color Polaroid image. The small prints are an edition of 200 priced at $5,000 each; the medium-sized prints are an edition of 40 priced at $25,000 each; and the large prints are an edition of 10, priced at $50,000 each. A number of the prints have been signed by both Close and the President. All of the works were created by Chuck Close in collaboration with Magnolia Editions director Donald Farnsworth.

Prints and tapestries from these editions will be offered at a fundraiser held at Lever House in New York on Wednesday, October 3, 2012. The print editions are also currently available through President Obama's website.

More art by Chuck Close at Magnolia Editions.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Tapestries feature in ARTnews

Installation view of Chuck Close's 2007 tapestry Kate, a portrait of Kate Moss. Photo courtesy of Nicholas Metivier Gallery

The September issue of ARTnews includes "Looms with a View," a feature by contributing editor Hilarie Sheets spotlighting contemporary fine art tapestries, in which artists including Kiki Smith and Chuck Close discuss their woven editions.

For an artist like Chuck Close, writes Sheets, whose work has taken the grid as its point of departure for decades, tapestry is a natural extension of his process. The artist confirms this connection: It’s the ultimate grid, enthuses Close, just horizontal and vertical threads.

Chuck Close inspects experimental proofs of Lucas (2011) at the mill in Belgium, December, 2010. Photo by Donald Farnsworth.

Close goes on to explain what gives the medium its unique appeal: The black wool for the background absorbs so much light without reflecting any that it makes the tapestry almost like a holograph, he says. It pushes the image forward and makes it a kind of startling illusion. Then by combining three white threads for every grayer white thread, that puffs it up. Our brain reads a figure in deep space. It almost transcends the physical reality of what it is and makes it not just threads for me.

Installation view of Chuck Close's Phil - State II (2006) and Kiki (2006) tapestries, published by Magnolia Editions. Photo courtesy of Aperture Foundation

Sheets relates how Kiki Smith, also the subject of a Close tapestry, was approached at a Close opening by Donald Farnsworth of Magnolia Editions about making her own. Subsequently, Magnolia published not just one but a suite of three Smith tapestry editions titled Sky, Earth, and Underground. Intended to be displayed together, the works possess interrelated, animistic imagery: Each, writes Sheets, feature[s] a nude female figure floating in a decorative kaleidoscope of elements from nature.

Ingredients of a Kiki Smith tapestry in progress at Magnolia Editions, 2011

I’m very attracted to serial narratives and symbolic representation, Smith tells ARTnews. I’m making something between spectacle and pageantry -- mixing the Middle Ages and Busby Berkeley and hippie art. Because tapestry is a matte surface, it absorbs light -- it really envelops you. That’s one of the primary things I find seductive about them. I like working in historical languages and trying to see where they hold a vitality for me.

Kiki Smith - Sky, 2012. Jacquard tapestry, 113 x 75 in. Edition of 10

Sheets's article concludes with Close echoing Smith's desire to find a bridge between one's contemporary practice and the methods of the past: Making things out of threads and big complicated things out of a lot of little things has real urgency for me, he explains. This old-time system has a history, and it’s not used up yet. It’s something to breathe new life into.

Read the full article "Looms with a View" at ARTnews

More tapestries and prints by Chuck Close at Magnolia Editions

More tapestries by Kiki Smith at Magnolia Editions

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Chuck Close Obama tapestries in the news

Chuck Close in August 2012 with Obama I and Obama II, two Jacquard tapestries published by Magnolia Editions. Photo by Donald Farnsworth.

Chuck Close and Magnolia Editions have been hard at work in recent months on a series of editioned tapestries and watercolor print portraits of President Barack Obama. The tapestries and prints will be published by Magnolia Editions and sold at a private fundraiser at Lever House in New York on October 3rd, with proceeds going to the Obama Victory Fund. A number of the prints will be signed by both Close and the President.

Earlier this month, one of Close's Obama tapestries was unveiled at North Carolina's Mint Museum in honor of the Democratic National Convention. The tapestries and prints will also be on view at Close's upcoming show at Pace Gallery in New York, opening October 19th.

The news of Close's fundraising venture has been making the rounds of Twitter and other media outlets at viral speeds. Writer and critic Calvin Tomkins stopped by Close's studio for a Talk of the Town feature in this week's New Yorker, while also reports on the tapestries on their website's In the Air section.

Chuck Close - Obama (large), 2012
Archival watercolor pigment print (45°) on Hahnemühle rag paper
Image: 66 1/4 x 54 3/4 in. Paper: 75 x 60 in. Edition of 10, published by Magnolia Editions

A portion of the watercolor prints, which have been editioned in three sizes, are now available for purchase directly through this form on President Obama's website.

Magnolia Editions is proud to be a part of President Obama's re-election effort and we sincerely hope these publications will help to ensure a Democratic victory in November! We encourage you to reblog and retweet to spread awareness of this unique opportunity to make a difference in the future of our country by acquiring a cutting-edge work by an undisputed master of contemporary portraiture.

In other news, Close's tapestries also appeared in a recent Village Voice story about the artist preparing for his October show at Pace, which leads off with the unforgettable line: "Lou Reed's got wrinkles in his wrinkles." (Close and Magnolia's Donald Farnsworth are currently proofing a tapestry portrait of the legendary rocker, to be debuted at the Pace show.) Read the entire article here: "A Visit with Art-World Hero Chuck Close."

More tapestries and prints by Chuck Close at Magnolia Editions