PRINT September 1993

ARTFORUM ’62–’79

He Called Me Chuck

THE REASON I use Chuck Close as my professional name is the accidental by-product of Phil Leider’s somewhat hang-loose administrative style while he was editor of Artforum. In the late ’60s my name always appeared in print as Charles Close. Then Cindy Nemser conducted an interview with me for the January 1970 issue of Artforum. She sent in an untitled transcript with “C.C.” representing my words and “C.N.” hers. The photographs that would accompany the piece, taken by a then student of mine at the School of Visual Arts, arrived at Artforum in an envelope marked simply “Chuck Close.” No one checked my name and the article was published as “An Interview with Chuck Close.” A separate piece by the same author also appeared that month in the obviously more formal Art in America, entitled “Introducing Charles Close.” Artforum’s article evidently became the defining piece on me and my work, and I have been stuck with “Chuck Close” ever since.

Up until this point, Phil Leider’s reign remains my favorite period in Artforum’s history. Of course the art world is not the same as it was then either. There was such urgency to the magazine then, as the entire contemporary art world eagerly awaited each issue. Every article was dissected and debated nightly at art world watering holes such as Max’s Kansas City. He was the right editor at the right time in the right forum for the issues of that moment in American art history.

Chuck Close is a painter who shows regularly at the Pace Gallery, New York.