Main Gallery

Chuck Close:
Portraits of Artists

 – , 2024


Pace Prints is pleased to announce Chuck Close: Portraits of Artists, on view March 14 – April 6, 2024, at 536 West 22nd Street. A public opening reception will be held Thursday, March 14, 6–8pm.


Explore Chuck Close's 40-year history with Pace Prints in our online viewing room.


Chuck Close (1940–2021) was a remarkably versatile and creative printmaker who utilized a wide range of techniques to render images of himself and his friends. In addition to his self portraits, the exhibition presents images in a variety of printing techniques that portray Close’s friends and fellow artists John Chamberlain, Philip Glass, Lyle Ashton Harris, Alex Katz, Roy Lichtenstein, Lucas Samaras, and James Siena. The exhibition focuses on prints from from 1980 to 2015 created using processes including intaglio, etching, woodcut, screen printing, and pigmented paper pulp.

Chuck Close was highly exacting but indefatigably curious and gracious in his collaborative relationships with printmakers. Throughout his career, Close remained deeply indebted to his generative work in the early 1980s with master printer Joe Wilfer, who pioneered the use of stenciled paper pulp. This gridding technique opened up revelatory possibilities for Close’s modular approach to portraiture and initiated decades of printmaking collaborations with Pace Prints and the Pace Paper studio, where Ruth Lingen, Akemi Martin, and Rachel Gladfelter succeeded Wilfer as directors.

Pace Prints published Close’s screen prints over three decades with Bob Blanton’s Brand X workshop and Pace Print’s own screen printing studio, directed by Jo Watanabe. Though he was initially reluctant to employ a technique which he deemed too photographic, his work with these master printers lead him to explore the complex combinations of color and mark-making that it allows. His explorations in the medium continued through to his last self-portrait screen print in 2012.

Intaglio techniques, in particular soft ground and spit bite etching, were an avenue for Close to work with direct mark-making on a plate. The projects that arose through his collaborations with Aldo Crommelynck, Julia D’Amario, Bill Hall and Kathy Kuehn beginning at Pace Prints’ Spring Street Workshop in the 1980s led to a lifelong engagement with intaglio printing and work with further generations of printers including Justin Israels, Sarah Carpenter and others.

Yasu Shibata brought his skills as a master Japanese Ukiyo-e woodcut printer to the Pace Prints workshop in 2001. The unique capacity of water-based wood block printing to incorporate overlays and blending of colors was a perfect match for Close’s experimentation with color in the last decades of his career.

With Chuck Close: Portraits of Artists Pace Prints is grateful and proud to look back on 40 years of collaborations with Chuck Close and to see the lasting impact of both what he learned from and contributed to contemporary printmaking.

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This exhibition is no longer on view.

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