November 16, 2009

Out of Chaos Comes Order

It caught my eye every time I passed it. At Spoleto Festival USA in Charleston, where the annual festival poster sells as hotly as show tickets, a black-and-white thumb-printed image of a curly-headed young man intrigued all of the interns. We were perplexed as to why the gift shop was still making bank off of a year-old design.

We eventually caught on. The 2007 Spoleto Festival poster used Chuck Close's famed Large Phil Fingerprint/Random (1979), a portrait of composer Philip Glass, as its focus. And as Dr. Flynt popped in a documentary about Close in art history today, I had to remind myself to sit up straight; that leaning forward won't get me into the film.

So who's Chuck? A fan of de Kooning, Close worked to purge his work of de Kooning's style and create on all his own. By breaking photos down into diminutive bites of color, he took the art world by storm. Close's bewildering technique is a fascinating process to watch as he works of a pixelated grid employing brilliant colors. --he reinvented portraits.

I'm obsessed.

Close and Philip Glass were friends. Like any good (ex)ballerina, I've an affinity for Phillip Glass as one of the 20th century's most prolific composers. He gave Twyla Tharp a backdrop for the fabulous In the Upper Room. (Which, might I add, the Boston Ballet performed during the 2008 Spoleto Festival. I think I had an outer body experience.)

Imagine the six degrees games these artistic geniuses could play... And the Nietzsche quote is thanks to Ellen's brilliance.

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