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Sunday, July 24, 2016


by Rick Mullin

Chuck Close, Self-Portrait II, 2011 Oil on canvas, 36 x 30 inches. Saved to Pinterest from Blum & Poe.

He bristles at the notion that his work
might be described in terms of photographs.
This is an affectation or a quirk—
“Seurat renouncing dots!” one critic laughs,
intrigued by the technique and color chart;
the way that paintings done before a crisis
that would leave him paralyzed foretold
what was to come (commanding epic prices);
at how the magic leaves some critics cold.

But the master doesn’t know quite where to start
this afternoon, concerned with where he’ll end.
“I think the portrait’s dead again,” he tells
a writer from The New York Times who’ll spend
a year examining the parallels
between the late self portraits and a term of art.

Rick Mullin's new poetry collection is Stignatz & the User of Vicenza.