Saturday, March 28, 2009

Julian Schnabel

Where do we even begin? Artist, film director and interior designer. Born in Brooklyn in 1951, Julian Schnabel became famous for his paintings on broken plates.

'Portrait of Olatz', named after his beautiful Spanish wife whom he apparently wooed by executing a series of paintings prominently featuring her name.

This painting is one of a series that was supposedly based on a picture of a blonde haired girl he stumbled upon while visiting a thrift store. He deliberately left out the eyes because he wanted people to focus on the whole picture instead of just that feature.

Schnabel's "Christ's Last Day" exhibition at the Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills. It featured paintings inspired by a box of X-rays chanced upon while working on his award winning movie 'The Diving Bell and the Butterfly' in France. The picture above from the LA Times really gives you a true sense of how large the works are.

“I’m as close to Picasso as you’re going to get in this fucking life,” he famously said earlier in his career.

After having won the Best Director award at Cannes however, he describes his range of interests in a comparatively modest way - "I’m like a crop rotator. One season is carrots, one season it’s potatoes. There must be part of my brain that is restored.”

The film was adapted from a memoir by Jean-Dominique Bauby, the rakish editor of French Elle who had a stroke at the age of 43. Left paralyzed, with only the ability to move an eyelid, he learned to communicate by blinking and through this means managed to write his book which was published days before his death in 1996.

Art with a touch of Asia

The grand yet inviting lobby of the Gramercy Park Hotel which Julian Schnabel had a hand in decorating. Unsurprisingly, it boosts more than a few of his own works but also works by Andy Warhol, Cy Twombly, Richard Prince, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Damien Hirst.

The Hotel on New York's Lexington Avenue is described as "rock n roll baroque" by owner Ian Schrager, "If there’s a message here it’s about individuality".

Old-fashioned luxury inflected by a modern art collection, many pieces so large that art movers had to roll out and restretch canvases that couldn't fit through the door in their frames.

Julian Schnabel's "Suddenly Last Summer (Picasso Painting No. 2)",
"Blue Japanese Painting No. 3" and "Teddy Bear’s Picnic" accompanied by Warhol’s "Rorschach" and Cy Twombley's "Bacchus" are some of the undeniably eye-catching pieces that transports guests into an Art Musuem without even having to leave the comfort of the Hotel.

If you can't get a room reservation on your next trip, the bar's still a definite place to visit!

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