Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Phil is a portrait of Chuck Close’s long-time friend, composer Philip Glass. The artist took a passport-size photograph of the sitter, overlaid it with a penciled grid, and then painted a vastly enlarged blowup of each square onto the canvas using airbrushes to create a photographic finish. As a result of this drastic enlargement, we see Glass at an uncomfortably close distance from which every mole, hair, and wrinkle is visible. With its cool, almost clinical detachment from its subject, the work functions more like a giant mug shot than a portrait.