Review of the Week

Chuck CloseClose, Chuck. Face Book. Non-fic. Abrams, 2012. 55p. $18.95. 978-1-4197-0163-4.

Chuck Close is paralyzed from the chest down and suffers from face blindness and dyslexia, but he creates wonderfully distinctive and often giant pictures of faces using many different media.
His portraits are created on grids, with each space having its own abstract painting, and only the whole makes up a face.  This book is constructed in a similar way: with Close’s answers to questions that a middle schooler might ask such as “How did you find your style?” and “Why do you only paint faces?” building up into a portrait of this fascinating artist. Close talks frankly about his disabilities and how art “was what I did to feel good about myself,” as well as detailing his process. Each
page is simply laid out with clear text and many excellently reproduced illustrations. The innovative and interactive central section, made up of 14 self-portraits that flip into each other, is printed on sturdy card that should withstand library usage. A timeline, glossary, and sources make this useful as a research book. Face Book is a pleasingly designed and engaging investigation into the development of an artist with a revealing look at his artistic process.

Hayley Beale, San Francisco Univ High

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