Filmmaker and Neo-expressionist artist Julian Schnabel’s large-scale paintings are materially and thematically monumental, drawing on a wealth of influences from Cubism to the practice of Cy Twombly and themes such as sexuality, obsession, suffering, redemption, death, and belief. Crowded with paint drips, dynamic brushstrokes, and found materials including broken plates, textiles, tarpaulins, and velvet, many of Schnabel’s paintings combine painting and collage techniques. Of his many portraits, perhaps the best known is the oil on velvet Portrait of Andy Warhol (1982), in which the almost translucent subject shares the canvas with a Pollock-esque splatter of paint.
Schnabel’s work has been exhibited all over the world. His paintings, sculptures, and works on paper are included in public collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Guggenheim Museum, New York and Bilbao; Tate Gallery, London; Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.; National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin; Kunstmuseum, Basel; Fondation Musée d’Art Moderne, Luxembourg; and Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.
In 1996 Schnabel wrote and directed the feature film Basquiat about fellow New York artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. The film was in the official selection of the 1996 Venice Film Festival. Schnabel’s second film, Before Night Falls, based on the life of the late exiled Cuban novelist Reinaldo Arenas, won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Coppa Volpi for best actor, Javier Bardem, at the 2000 Venice Film Festival. In 2007 Schnabel directed his third film, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Schnabel received the award for Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival as well as Best Director at the Golden Globe Awards, where the film won Best Film in a Foreign Language. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly was nominated for four Oscars. That same year, 2007, he made a film of Lou Reed’s Berlin concert at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn. His most recent film, Miral, won the UNESCO as well as the UNICEF award at the 2010 Venice Film Festival. Miral was shown at the General Assembly Hall of the United Nations.
Julian Schnabel (*1951 in New York City) received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Houston in 1973. Following his graduation, he applied to the Whitney Independent Study Program; his application consisted of six slides sandwiched between two pieces of bread. He was accepted and graduated from the program in 1974. His first solo painting exhibition took place at the Mary Boone Gallery in New York City in February 1979. He currently lives and works in New York City and Montauk, Long Island.