Chuck Close. Zhang Huan I, 2008
Oil on canvas | 257,8 x 213,4 cm
Chuck Close
Zhang Huan I, 2008

Oil on canvas | 257,8 x 213,4 cm
Artist's Studio
Pace Wildenstein, New York
Collection of Jon and Mary Shirley, Medina, Washington
Pace Gallery, New York
Gary Tatintsian Gallery

Chuck Close: Selected Paintings and Tapestries 2005–2009. Pace Wildenstein, 534 West 25th Street, New York, May 1–June 20, 2009.
50 Years at Pace. The Pace Gallery, 510 West 25th Street, New York, September 17–October 16, 2010.
Chuck Close. Blum and Poe, Los Angeles, October 29–December 22, 2011.

Bui, Phong. "In Conversation: Chuck Close with Phong Bui." Brooklyn Rail, June 2008. p. 32 (illustrated).
Mason, Brook S. "How Grandma's Crochet Inspired My Artistic Vision." Art Newspaper no. 201 (April 2009) p. 44 (illustrated).
Wei, Lilly. "Face Time." In Chuck Close: Selected Paintings and Tapestries 2005-2009. Exhibition catalogue. New York: Pace Wildenstein, 2009. front cover (detail), 1 (detail), 9, 26, 27 (illustrated).
Falconer, Morgan. "An American Trilogy, Part III: Realism, Chuck Close." With sidebar text by Madeleine Grynsztejn. Art World, no. 11 (June/July 2009): 44 (illustrated).
Glimcher, Arne. 50 Years at Pace. Exhibition catalogue. New York: The Pace Gallery, 2010: 275, no. 157, illustrated.
Finch, Christopher. Chuck Close: Work. Munich; Berlin; London; New York: Prestel Verlag, 2007; 2010; 2014: 318, 322 (illustrated). [Zhang Huan I does not appear in the 2007 edition.]
"Memorias Cuadriculadas (Squared Memories)." In 100 Miradas al Arte Contemporáneo (100 Views on Contemporary Art). Santiago: Arte al Límite, 2014: 16 (illustrated). [Zhang Huan I is incorrectly identified as Zhang Huan II in this publication.]
Tony, Godfrey. "Chuck Close." RES : Art World/World Art, no. 11 (2014): 17, illustrated.
Chuck Close: Paintings, 1967 to the Present. Digital Catalogue Raisonné. Artifex Press, 2016.

To observe Close at work on one of the grid portraits is like watching a man who has memorized Webster's Dictionary patiently working his way through the world's largest crossword puzzle, starting at the top left hand corner and working down. But as the painting approaches completion, something extraordinary happens. It is as if the crossword has been miraculously transformed into biography, the components finding syntax that gives them cumulative meaning.

These painted biographies take on additional meaning with repetition. A strong recent example can be found in the pair of portraits of the Chinese artist Zhang Huan, the first painted in 2008, the second in 2008-2009. The earlier example is in color and employs a diagonal grid, the second is black-and-white and utilizes a conventional grid, yet the images seem to be derived from a virtually identical source. Initially, an inspection of the photographic maquettes for these canvases reinforces this view—anyone who owns a digital camera knows that it's possible to transform a color image into black-and-white. But these are not digital photographs—they are Polaroids, and therefore are the result of separate exposures. In fact they were taken at least an hour apart, during which time the sitter stood up and walked around the studio while the camera was reloaded, then struck his pose again. The images were uncannily alike, inspiring Close to make two paintings. The resulting interplay of similarities of source material with differences in fabrication provides an opportunity to consider and reconsider key aspects of Close's method.

—Christopher Finch, Chuck Close: Work, pp. 316-317
Close: I've actually used making a portrait as an opportunity to get to know [a] person better. I will ask somebody I really don't know very well at all, but with whom I feel an important relationship through their work. It's that dialogue that makes me want to paint their portraits; I must really admire their work. I usually just use their first names for the titles, but in your case no one may know "Huan," so I'll use both names. You'd be the only other person—besides Bill Clinton—for whom I used both the first and last names.

Zhang: In China, we always do the last name first, because the idea of the family is the most crucial thing, and therefore you always mention that first. Whereas in the United States, it's more individualistic. In the West, usually when you meet a kid, you say, "What's your name?" But in China, you ask, "What does your father do?"

Close: It's really interesting that we're sitting here with a translator, because we can't really talk to each other that well. But art transcends all of that... There's no loss in translation in the work. I understand why you made certain decisions in your paintings, sculptures or performance pieces. They cut right across totally different cultures and—you're obviously a much younger man than I am—across the years as well. That's the great pleasure, I think, in the magic of painting: that painting, as a rectangle, is a window to someplace else, another time, another culture. It's just stuff. In my case, it's colored dirt, and in your case, it's temple ash. [Zhang did an ash-on-linen portrait of Close in 2009, the first that he made depicting a friend.] But it transcends the stuff and becomes a life experience that you share with someone else.

—Sheri Pasquarella, "Zhang Huan Stopped by Chuck Close's New York Studio," Tar, p. 84