Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Media-Whoere D'Oeuvres

"Once compared to Citizen Kane’s Xanadu, Palazzo Chupi, the pink West Village mansion where Julian Schnabel presides over his large family and a cavalry of assistants, is an ornate doily of concrete, a symbol if not of Cupid, then of cupidity. I arrived there on Valentine’s Day. Mr. Schnabel’s studio is on the third floor, a large white space, paint-splashed, with a single sliver of a window letting in light from the sun, which was beginning to set over the Hudson River. Two assistants watched as Olmo Schnabel, Julian’s college-age son, tinkered with a five-foot-tall cardboard sculpture shaped like a missile. The room was hung with Mr. Schnabel’s 'Goat' paintings, a recent series of enormous canvases made from a reprinted image taken from 19th-century Dufour wallpaper. They depict a Redcoat army marching through a bucolic valley, a scene onto which the artist has drizzled purple paint and transposed an illustration of a large white goat. A realist portrait of Dennis Hopper, high up on a wall, gazed over the goats like a shepherd. Mr. Schnabel entered the room quietly, almost sheepishly, and everyone kept going about their business. He is 61 and on the short side, with a slight paunch, a patchy beard and slicked-back hair. He was wearing yellow-tinted glasses and a black jacket with an image printed on the back of one of his “Big Girl” paintings—a blond girl in a blue dress with a sinister smile and a slash of black paint obscuring her eyes. Mr. Schnabel has been known for walking around the city in paint-splattered silk pajamas, a gesture considered by some to be the pinnacle of 1980s hedonism, but that day he was in jeans and work boots. He went over to his son and asked what the cardboard sculpture was for. It was a project for an art class at Bard College. 'I have to spell out my name somewhere on it,' Olmo Schnabel said.Mr. Schnabel picked up the sculpture. 'I’ll tell you what,' he said, pointing to the square bottom of the piece, 'you’ve got an ‘O’ right here.' He gestured to a crease running roughly through its center. 'And that’s your L. You can use duct tape to put an M right here.' Olmo stared blankly. 'I’m just worried that there are requirements—' 'Listen,' Mr. Schnabel said. 'Screw them. They don’t know what they want.' He suggested his son style the sculpture so he could do something practical with it later, maybe use it as a lampshade. He placed the sculpture on his head, then held it to his eye and looked through the hole in the bottom. 'You should do what you want,' he said, 'but I think that’s what you should do.' Mr. Schnabel turned to me. 'I’ve been making these portraits of the Brant children. Plate paintings. Would you like to see them?'" (GalleristNY)

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