At the New York Review of Books, Sanford Schwartz considers the connection between Julian Schnabel’s work as an artist and as a filmmaker, delving into his days as an ’80s art star who published his own autobiography, “C.V.J.: Nicknames of Maitre D’s & Other Excerpts from Life,” in 1987, when he was the ripe age of 36, and suggesting that most people think he’s been doing better with the new gig:
For many members of the art world, where Schnabel’s work has been met with mixed feelings for three decades now, the movies have been received with a combination of admiration, wonderment over how he has moved adroitly into so different an endeavor, and a feeling, not untouched by condescension, that he has finally found his footing (or, as an artist friend said to me after seeing The Diving Bell, “Apparently it’s easier to make a great movie than a great painting”). My own opinion is that in these films Schnabel is less finding or fulfilling himself than creating additional ways to handle themes he has presented with real power, though more ambiguously, and sometimes all too sketchily, in his paintings.
Over at the LA Times, Chris Lee reports from Schnabel’s exhibition opening last week at the Gagosian Gallery: “‘I wanted to show some paintings,’ Schnabel added. ‘It’s my day job. It’s what I really do. All this stuff is the product of one mind.'” Brett Ratner makes an appearance and struggles to keep his entourage in line: “‘Alina, don’t touch the paintings!’ he suddenly admonished a gorgeous female companion he spotted absent-mindedly leaning most of her shoulder onto one of Schnabel’s canvases.”
[Photo: Untitled (Cotton Ball Painting), 2007; Julian Schnabel, courtesy of the Gagosian Gallery]