Schack to host work of famous Monroe-born artist Chuck Close

EVERETT — Chuck Close, the Monroe-born artist famous for his large-scale portraits, is coming home and bringing with him an exhibit of his prints to be displayed at the Schack Art Center from May through September.

Close is best known as a painter and photographer who achieved international renown with his huge portraits that incorporate grids and intricate patterns to form realistic paintings.

His touring printmaking show has been displayed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan and in many other museums around the country and the world. When the 6,500-square-foot Schack hosts the show, it will mark only the second time the show has visited the West Coast.

The show is expected to bring thousands of people to Everett next summer.

Close, 75, has lived most of his life in New York. He grew up in Snohomish County and attended Everett Community College where he was encouraged by the legendary art teacher Russell Day.

Schack Art Center Executive Director Judy Tuohy visited Close in February 2014 at his beach house on Long Island to inquire about a display of his work.

“It was awesome,” Tuohy said.

“He was very kind and low key, but he is excited about this homecoming. One of the things that Chuck Close likes about the Schack is that we don’t charge admission and have a mission that encourages everyone to experience art.”

The cost to exhibit 170 pieces from the Close print show at the Schack — including shipping, extra security and insurance — will be more than $200,000, Tuohy said. “It’s a huge undertaking. We’re in unchartered territory, but it’s so exciting. Off the charts.”

The Boeing Co. already has stepped up with a $75,000 contribution. In-kind donations, help from the college, the city of Everett and Snohomish County as well as other corporate sponsorships are being sought. Those who wish to contribute are asked to email jtuohy@schack.org.

“This monumental exhibit also will honor Chuck Close and his contribution to the art world,” Tuohy said. “It’s so important that we understand and celebrate that he is from here and that this community played a part in his life.”

Gale Fiege: 425-339-3427; gfiege@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @galefiege.

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