Reviews for Chuck Close : Face Book

Booklist Reviews 2012 March #2
"Inspiration is for amateurs. Artists get to work." In text based on informal interviews with a class of fifth-grade students, acclaimed artist Chuck Close talks unpretentiously about his groundbreaking paintings and his life story, including how he has overcome severe disability, from lifelong dyslexia to the repercussions of a stroke that left him wheelchair-bound. Family and friends are mentioned in passing, but the focus here is on Close's art, and the centerpiece of the book is a series of 14 beautifully reproduced portraits, each cut into three sections that can be flipped and overlaid onto other images to create new combinations of faces and features. The images demonstrate Close's varying mediums, from pencil to oil paint, as well as his signature technique of painting into an intricate grid. The appealing displays of movable images will draw kids into the questions: why does Close paint only the face? Why grids? From the title pun, the contemporary, casual approach to sophisticated art makes this great preparation for a museum visit or for any arts-education unit. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Fall
In this Q&A style narrative, Close answers questions supposedly asked by children. His voice is clear and direct with not a hint of famous-artist self-aggrandizement or angst. A central section shows fourteen of his self-portraits in a variety of media on heavy card stock cut into thirds so readers can mix and match. A welcome primary source about being an artist. Timeline. Bib., glos., ind.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2012 #3
Chuck Close's art and life story are the ideal way to introduce art and artists to children. His work is easy to describe and understand because he creates only portraits, but since he does them in almost every possible medium and they have an intriguing trompe l'oeil effect, they are especially attractive to children. But the kicker is the way his life story and so-called disabilities relate directly to his style. As a child, severe dyslexia made school difficult, but art class was easy. Likewise, his prosopagnosia (face blindness) made him especially interested in what made a face recognizable. His early canvases in hyper-realistic style showed large faces in a somewhat disturbing warts-and-all close-up, created from photos divided into small squares. Later, after what he calls The Event -- a collapsed blood vessel that left him paralyzed from the chest down -- his style changed, once again working within his new set of abilities. In this Q&A-style narrative, Close himself answers questions supposedly asked by children (shown on scraps of colored paper in a child's handwriting). His voice is clear and direct with not a hint of famous-artist self-aggrandizement or angst. Instead, he comes across as humble and content with his life. A central section answering a question about his penchant for self-portraits shows fourteen of them in a variety of media on heavy card stock cut into thirds so readers can mix and match eyes, noses, and mouths. The cut pages feel like a bit of a gimmick, though they will probably appeal to younger children. Including the same paintings as a wordless sequence of full pages might have shown the artist's variety more clearly, but overall this is a welcome primary source about being an artist. An illustrated timeline, a glossary, a list of illustrations, and extensive resources are provided at the end of the book. lolly robinson Copyright 2012 Horn Book Magazine Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2012 March #1
A magnificent interactive "face book" portrait of the artist. This book grew out of a studio visit/conversation between Close and a dozen Brooklyn fifth graders. Through the kids' simple questions and the artist's forthright answers, readers eavesdrop on the event and witness the ongoing dialogue between an artist and his unforgettable, iconographic work. Close discloses struggles with childhood ill health and severe dyslexia. He tells how his early artistic promise was nurtured by caring parents and teachers and how he adjusted for his prosopagnosia (face blindness) by sketching the faces of his students. He also shares how the steady progress of a rewarding career and warm family life was nearly derailed by his near-total paralysis after the 1998 collapse of a spinal artery. He also discloses the many "hows" of his astonishing technique: how he uses gridded photos to build his faces and how he works from his wheelchair and wields his brush with less-abled hands. Readers witness his discipline and see how he works in a dizzying variety of media. At the book's brilliant center is the irresistible opportunity to "mix 'n' match" various eyes, noses and mouths among 14 of the artist's arresting self-portraits. Art lovers of all ages will revel in this vivid, wonderfully affecting book, which is almost as ingenious and memorable as Close himself. (timeline, glossary, list of resources and illustration credits) (Nonfiction. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 February #3

This substantive autobiography concentrates on the evolution of painter Close's massive portraits. In interview form, with children's questions written atop the pages ("How do you make your pictures look so real?"), Close describes his work with candor and insight ("Inspiration is for amateurs. Artists just show up and get to work"). He explains how he coped first with a global learning deficit ("I still add and subtract by using the spots on dominos"), then with a collapsed artery in adulthood that left him a quadriplegic ("I had to figure out some way to be able to get back to work and make some money"). Yet it's clear that he considers these setbacks of little significance compared to the shaping of his identity as an artist and the excitement of creating paintings. The high quality printing and lush colors of the reproductions make it easy for readers to share that excitement. A nifty mix-and-match section lets readers compare the methods used in 14 of the artist's self-portraits, but Close's examination of his own work provides more than enough gratification on its own. Ages 8-12. (Apr.)

[Page ]. Copyright 2012 PWxyz LLC

School Library Journal Reviews 2012 June

Gr 4-8--Dyslexia, prosopagnosia (the inability to remember faces), and the collapse of a spinal artery that left him paralyzed from the chest down deeply affected Close's life. Here he describes how art helped him triumph over these difficulties. Labeled "dumb" at an early age due to his problem with reading and arithmetic, he was encouraged by his parents and teachers to pursue his interest in and obvious talent for art. The text is arranged by topics of questions asked by children who visited his studio. "Do you work from live models or photographs?" "How do you start a painting?" and "Why do you make so many self-portraits?" lead readers through explanations and examples of Close's art. The center of the book reveals how he uses a grid system of a face and, employing a variety of techniques, including oil paints, airbrush watercolors, etching, and woodcuts, re-creates the same face with a wide diversity of textures, colors, and impact. Excellent-quality reproductions of his paintings appear throughout. A readable and engaging look at a fascinating artist and his methods of working.--Maryann H. Owen, Racine Public Library, WI

[Page 141]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.