The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts has a new exhibition that celebrates a renowned American artists, but not in the medium he's known for.
Contemporary artist Chuck Close, is famous for his paintings but photographs are an important part of his process, and this exhibition, called Chuck Close Photographs, is the first ever to explore the role that pictures have played in his work.
"One of our most important artists of our time," is how PAFA Museum Director Brooke Davis Anderson describes Chuck Close, "a painter that a lot of people would call photorealist."
To paint in the exacting detail he's known for, Close starts every portrait with a photograph.
"What's interesting about Chuck Close is that the photograph can also be a standalone work of art," says Anderson.
The exhibition features more than 90 of his photos taken since 1964, including celebrities like Brad Pitt. "I think that might be one of the more popular photographs in the exhibition," says Anderson.
You'll also see Close's pictures of Hillary and Bill Clinton, Alec Baldwin and Kate Moss. But the exhibition's centerpiece is a self-portrait that looks black and white from afar, "If you really study the portrait," Anderson points out, "you'll see that it has a skin tone to it."
The show also details how the artist's use of photography led to his study of the medium itself.
"It was over the course of the last 50 years that the Polaroid led him to 35 millimeter, led him to the Daguerreotype," explains Anderson. "And all of these techniques in photography are in this exhibition."
Chuck Close Photographs was organized by the Parrish Art Museum in New York. It's been traveling the country for the past few years and, Anderson warns, Philadelphia is the final stop, "So this is a rare opportunity."
Chuck Close Photographs is on view at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts thru April 8. For tickets and show times visit, The Arts in Philly.