May 27, 2009

The Aspen Institute proudly announces that renowned photorealist painter Chuck Close will be its 2009 Harman-Eisner Artist in Residence. In this role, he will spend a week of the 2009 summer at the Aspen Institute’s Aspen Meadows campus, participating in the Aspen Ideas Festival.

“Chuck Close is one of the most important painters in America, an artist who has magnificently reinvented the genre of the portrait in compelling contemporary terms ,” said Dana Gioia, director of the Institute’s Harman-Eisner Program in the Arts and former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. “Close is also a heroic figure in personal terms, a man
who overcame a catastrophic injury and continued to paint with undiminished force.”

Chuck Close’s work has been the subject of more than 150 solo exhibitions including a number of major museum retrospectives. His most recent—Chuck Close Paintings: 1968 / 2006, at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid in 2007—traveled to the Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst in Aachen, Germany, and The State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, Russia. He has also participated in almost 800 group exhibitions. The recipient of the National Medal of Arts from President Clinton in 2000, the New York State Governor’s Art Award, and the Skowhegan Arts Medal, among many others, American Academy of Arts.  Close has received over 20 honorary degrees including one from Yale University, his alma mater.

“In the language of Jackson Pollack, Chuck Close ‘breaks glass,’” said Dr. Sidney Harman, Institute trustee, co-founder of the Harman-Eisner Artist in Residence program, and former chairman of Harman International Industries. “He has created a remarkable and uniquely personal body of work that ranks him with our greatest artists. We are very fortunate to have him join our program as this year's Artist in Residence.”

The Harman-Eisner Artist in Residence program, inaugurated in July 2006, seeks to bring the arts to the forefront of the Institute’s work by incorporating the views and voices of the world’s top creative talents, and exposes socially engaged artists to the Institute’s ongoing “Great Conversation” — discussions generated from the dynamic work, atmosphere, and individuals involved in the Aspen Institute, from world leaders and policymakers to heads of business and academia. Previous Harman-Eisner Artists in Residence have included former New York City Ballet principal dancer Damian Woetzel, actor and playwright Anna Deavere Smith, stage director and translator of classical works Stephen Wadsworth, and opera singer Jessye Norman.

Artists are selected and invited by the Aspen Institute. Inquiries should be directed to Dana Gioia at 202-736-5800.