Aspen Institute Arts Program


On March 13, the Aspen Institute Arts Program, in partnership with America: Now and Here, hosted renowned artists Eric Fischl and Chuck Close for an intimate conversation at the Mary Boone gallery in Chelsea. Held in conjunction with Fischl’s Portraits exhibit at the gallery, the invite only crowd joined the artists in a discussion on the art of portraiture. While Fischl and Close approach portraiture differently from a technical standpoint, both felt that the essence of portraiture is best captured by the painter John Singer Sargent’s pithy quote that “a portrait is a painting with something wrong with the mouth.” The artists also spoke about initiatives to increase the impact and access of the arts without ignoring its perils. As participants of America: Now and Here, an ambitious project that aims to bring the arts and artists to communities to spark a conversation about America, Fischl and Close spoke about their approaches in addressing the notions of elitism that can sometimes limit an artists’ or art form’s ability to communicate with the larger public. See video for more…

Eric Fischl "Self-Portrait: An Unfinished Work"

Self-Portrait: An Unfinished Work
84" by 108"; oil/linen; Eric Fischl 2011

Eric Fischl "Chuck"

                             28" by 20"; oil/linen; Eric Fischl 2001

The evening’s moderator Damian Woetzel and participants Eric Fischl and Chuck Close have all been Harman-Eisner Artist in Residence at the Aspen Institute (Woetzel in 2008, Close in 2009, and Fischl in 2011.) The Harman-Eisner Artist in Residence is a year-long fellowship to incorporate the views and voices of some of the world’s top creative talents into the ongoing work of the Institute; and to facilitate that process in reverse, exposing thoughtful, engaged artists to the dynamic work, atmosphere, and people engaged in the Aspen Institute, from world leaders to policymakers, authors, advocates, and academics. For more information email: