Artist Chuck Close to deliver public lecture at world's largest brain science meeting

October 04, 2012

WASHINGTON -- Artist Chuck Close will deliver the annual "Dialogues between Neuroscience and Society" public lecture Oct. 13 at Neuroscience 2012, the 42nd annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) in New Orleans.

Each year, the "Dialogues" lecture features a luminary speaker whose work touches on brain function and the diversity of human experience. Past speakers include the Dalai Lama, architect Frank Gehry, choreographer Mark Morris, actress Glenn Close, and economist Robert Shiller. The "Dialogues" lecture is open to the public, free of charge.

Close has had a major impact on American art and culture. His large-scale portraits of the human face have been shown in retrospectives at the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, and in the Whitney Museum of American Art. In 2000, he was awarded the highest honor conferred by the United States on an artist: the National Medal of Arts from Bill Clinton.

"Close has a powerful story to tell about his own life and work, as well as the impact of the arts on society," said SfN President Moses Chao, PhD. "We are so honored he will address scientists at the meeting; it will be a powerful start to five days of emerging breakthroughs in brain science."

What many people may not know is that Close produced his iconic works of art while coping with serious impairments of his brain and body; he suffered a spinal artery collapse and subsequent paralysis in 1988. Close also has the disorder prosopagnosia, sometimes known as "face blindness," where the ability to recognize faces is impaired. His talk at Neuroscience 2012 is entitled "My Life as a Rolling Neurological Clinic."

Neuroscience research has revealed a great deal about brain structures and processing that are unique to viewing a human face, and the foundational role the face plays in human development and social interactions, as well as diseases such as autism, in which social cues made through facial expressions are not accurately read. New research being presented at Neuroscience 2012 explores the complex circuitry involved in processing and interpreting facial expressions.
More than 30,000 neuroscientists -- presenting 16,000 abstracts cutting across biological, behavioral, psychological, and chemical disciplines -- are expected to attend Neuroscience 2012, Oct. 13-17. In addition to lectures, symposia, and poster sessions, Neuroscience 2012 hosts press conferences and a working press room. Live webstreaming of scientific press conferences is available to credentialed reporters. For more details, access Neuroscience 2012's preliminary program and media credentialing information at

Society for Neuroscience

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