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Lyle Ashton Harris and Chuck Close, Excessive Exposure

A conversation recorded March 23, 2011 at The New York Public Library's Artist Dialog Series with performer, photographer and video artist Lyle Ashton Harris and photographer, visual artist Chuck Close. The two discuss a wide range of topics including their mutual experiences, technique and format, celebrities (and how to photograph them), face blindness, skin colors, Lana Turner, Yoko Ono, Cindy Sherman, the Dalai Lama, Silvio Berlusconi and many other of their subjects. All of this in the context of a discussion of Harris' 2010 book Excessive Exposure.

Lyle Ashton Harris is an artist who works in video, photography and performance. His work has been exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, the Kunsthalle Basel, and the Centre d'Art Contemporain in Geneva. During 2000 and 2001, Harris was a fellow at the American Academy in Rome. He has received numerous awards for his photography and is currently represented by CRG Gallery in New York. Harris' photographs have also appeared in international magazines, including The New York Times Magazine, Newsweek and Vibe. He received his M.F.A. from the California Institute of the Arts in 1990.

Chuck Close is a visual artist noted for his highly inventive techniques used to paint the human face, and is best known for his large-scale, photo-based portrait paintings. He is also an accomplished printmaker and photographer whose work has been the subject of more than 200 solo exhibitions in more than 20 countries, including major retrospective exhibitions at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Award winning artist, Chuck Close was presented with the prestigious National Medal of Arts by President Clinton in 2000. In 1988 he was paralyzed following a rare spinal artery collapse. He continues to paint using a brush-holding device strapped to his wrist and forearm. He studied at the University of Washington School of Art (B.A., 1962) and at the Yale University School of Art and Architecture (B.F.A., 1963; M.F.A., 1964), receiving honorary degrees from both of his alma maters as well as 20 other institutions. Chuck Close is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, has served on the board of many arts organizations and was appointed by President Obama to serve on The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities.

Special thanks to The New York Public Library for this radio partnership. The NYPL Artist Dialogues Series series is coordinated, initiated and organized by Arezoo Moseni since 2004 and provides an open forum for understanding and appreciation of contemporary art. Artists are paired with critics, curators, gallerists, writers or other artists to converse about art and the potential of exploring new ideas.


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