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MTA Arts & Design


Second Avenue–86th Street

Chuck Close

Subway Portraits, 2017

Glass and ceramic mosaic, ceramic tile

Chuck Close created twelve large-scale portraits for 86th Street that are based on the artist’s painstakingly detailed photo-based portrait paintings. His various painting techniques have been interpreted in ten works as mosaic, and in two as ceramic tile. Ten of the artworks measure close to nine feet high. The people portrayed represent the variety of individuals that pass though the MTA system, and are chiefly cultural figures that have frequently been subjects in his artistic career spanning over half a century, including Philip Glass, Zhang Huan, Kara Walker, Alex Katz, Cecily Brown, Cindy Sherman, and Lou Reed, as well as two distinct self-portraits.

Chuck Close is an internationally acclaimed painter and printmaker whose artwork has been featured in hundreds of exhibitions as well as private and permanent museum collections around the world. He is renowned for creating portraits by using many innovative techniques within a grid, such as strokes of color or meticulous detail. He was the recipient of a National Medal of the Arts presented by President Clinton, and was appointed by President Obama to serve on the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities. Chuck Close lives and works in New York City.

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