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Chuck Connelly in his studio, 2008
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PAIN IS THE NAME
OF THE GAME

by Charlie Finch



He’s drunk, he’s high, he’s mournful, he’s masochistic and he makes great art. It could be a lot of painters throughout art history and now, according to HBO, which is premiering director Jeff Stimmel’s 63-minute-long documentary The Art of Failure, it’s Chuck Connelly. What this film unintentionally reveals is that, contrary to cliché, Connelly is not an oil-based genius because he is psychotically living through constant pain; he is in pain precisely because making arresting images in paint is so easy for him. When Chuck is out of the studio, everything else is difficult.

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