Close's work is associated with Photorealism, a movement whose other major stars include Richard Estes, Ralph Goings, Charles Bell, and Audrey Flack.
The idea of delving into "realism" seems to resonate with Close, whose own life has been at times a realistic hell. An only child, he lost both his parents early on, was often sickly, and was sent to the back of the class with the other "challenged" kids because he had dyslexia. But pain is often a catalyst for art. The slow, lonely boy ended up at Yale, and found himself drawn toward the artistic countermovement of the day -- the reaction against minimalism and conceptualism.
In 1968 Close stepped on the art world's main stage with his first painting of a photo, the black-and-white Big Self-Portrait. Soon his work morphed into a more "gridded" look -- the little individual squares bringing back an abstract feel -- and started popping up in major museums everywhere.
Real life interrupted again in 1988 when a bizarre blood clot paralyzed Close from the neck down -- but he literally picked himself up and learned to paint again. You can hear Close's dramatic story when he delivers a lecture at the Miracle Theatre in Coral Gables on Saturday, May 15. Or just stop by MAM and see it all for yourself.