Facing Dyslexia: The Education of Chuck Close

Main Article Content

Ken Gobbo


painter, learning disability, education


Throughout his lifetime, the American painter, Chuck Close faced many challenges, including dyslexia and prosopagnosia. This article discusses his education and some of the creative strategies he employed to overcome the obstacles he faced from elementary school through college and graduate school. It also considers the influence of several of his teachers and the ways his learning differences came to influence his artistic process.


Abstract 631 | PDF Downloads 196 Word Downloads 100 Text Downloads 137


Ament, D.T. (2003, February 15). Graves, Morris: Historylink.org essay #525. Encyclopedia of Washington State History. Retrieved from http://www.historylink.org/index.cfm?DisplayPage=output.cfm&file_id=5205.

Bui, P. (2008, June 7). Chuck Close with Phong Bui. The Brooklyn Rail. Retrieved from http://www.brooklynrail.org/2008/06/art/chuck-close-with-phong-bui.

Close, C. (2012, April 10). Chuck Close’s advice to his younger self. CBS This Morning. Retrieved from http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505270_162-57411846/chuck-closes-advice-to-his-younger-self/ retrieved 12/28/12.

Ellis, H.D. & Florence, M. (1990) M. Bodamer's (1947) paper on prosopagnosia (English translation). Cognitive Neuropsychology. 7: 81-105.

Farley, T. (2011). Larger Than Life: Dyslexia, paralysis, face blindness—nothing comes between
legendary artist Chuck Close and his canvas, except a brush. Neurology Now, 7(4), 14-20. doi: 10.1097/01.NNN.0000405017.33167.

Finch, C. (2010). Chuck Close: Life. Prestel: Munich.

Finch, C. (2010, July). Close up. Guernica: A Magazine of Arts and Politics. Retrieved from www.guernicamag.com/interviews/1852/close_7_1_10/.

Friedman, M. (2005). Close reading: Chuck Close and the art of the self portrait. Abrams: NY.

Gobbo, K. (2010). Dyslexia and creativity: The education and work of Robert Rauschenberg. Disability Studies Quarterly, 30, (3-4).

Kammer, G. (2008, January) Russell E. Day: Catalyst Everett Community College Website. Retrieved from http://www.everettcc.edu/gallery/russell-day-catalyst.

Lepper, S. (2008, Feb 14) EVCC Renames Gallery to Honor Former Art Instructor Russell Day press release, Everett CC. Retrieved from: http://www.everettcc.edu/node/20603.

Luplow, J. (2012, September) Russell Day, Mentor to Many: Chihuly, Ely, Close, Weller, Tretheway. Thurston Talk. Retrieved from http://www.thurstontalk.com/2012/09/24/russell-day-mentor-to-many-chihuly-ely-close-weller-tretheway/.

Lyon, G.R., Shaywitz, S.E., & Shaywitz, B. (2003). Defining dyslexia, comorbidity, teachers' knowledge of language and reading: A definition of dyslexia. Annals of Dyslexia, 53, 1-14.

Mason, A. (1984, January 13-February 21). Interview by L. Harrington. [Tape recording]. Oral History Interviews, Smithsonian Institution. Smithsonian Archives of American Art, Washington, D.C. Retrieved from http://www.aaa.si.edu/collections/interviews/oral-history-interview-alden-mason-12510.

Mine are the Orient, the Occident, science, religion, cities, space, and writing a picture: A review of Mark Tobey’s retrospective exhibition at Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía . (1998, March). One Country. Retrieved from http://www.onecountry.org/story/review-mine-are-orient-occident-science-religion-cities-space-and-writing-picture

MoMA videos. (Producer). (2007). Painting process/ process painting. Available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cg-zsxsalS8.

Roush, R. (2012, February 25). Chemo Transit [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://chemotransit.blogspot.com/2011/02/chemo-inspiration-for-wig-and-puzzling.html retrieved 1/10/ 2012.

Smith, J.K. & Plimpton, G. (1993). Chronicles of courage, very special artists. Random House: NY.

Storr, R., Close, C., Varnedoe, K., Wye, D., & Museum of Modern Art (New York, N.Y.).
(1998). Chuck Close. New York: Museum of Modern Art.

Sultan, T. (2005, June 13) Chuck Close prints. Traditional Fine Arts Organization Resource Library. Retrieved from : http://www.tfaoi.com/aa/5aa/5aa348d.htm retrieved 11/24/12

Tully J. (1987, May 14-Sep 30). Interview by J. Tully. [Tape recording]. Oral History Interviews, Smithsonian Institution. Smithsonian Archives of American Art, Washington, D.C. Retrieved from http://www.aaa.si.edu/collections/interviews/oral-history-interview-chuck-close-13141.

Yardley, L., McDermott, L. Pisarski, S., Duchaine, B., & Nakayama, K. (2008) Psychosocial consequences of developmental prosopagnosia: A problem of recognition. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 65, 445-451.