Chuck Close is widely known for his painterly process of using abstraction to a realistic end. Gridding both a source photograph and a canvas, Close paints brightly-colored concentric rings that up close look like simple color fields, but from afar turn out to be very detailed portraits. His celebrated subjects include Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Chamberlain, Jasper Johns, Brad Pitt, Robert Rauschenberg, and Kate Moss. His recognition as one of the greatest artists of his generation is almost universal.
With his work recently gracing New York City taxis, and soon to decorate the set of a biographical ballet (scored by his friend Philip Glass) at the American Ballet Theater, Close is truly a major face of the New York art scene. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, has served on the board of many arts organizations, and has more than 20 honorary doctorates. He was recently appointed by President Obama to serve on the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.