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Artists Julian Schnabel
Julian Schnabel Photo

Julian Schnabel

American Filmmaker, Painter, Printmaker, and Sculptor

Movement: Neo-Expressionism

Born: October 26, 1951 - Brooklyn, New York

Julian Schnabel Timeline

Quotes

"My paintings take up room, they make a stand. People will always react to that. Some people get inspired, others get offended. But, that's good. I like that."
Julian Schnabel
"It's a great excuse and luxury, having a job and blaming it for your inability to do your own art. When you don't have to work, you are left with the horror of facing your own lack of imagination and your own emptiness. A devastating possibility when finally time is your own."
Julian Schnabel
"A lot of what I do is about being in the moment and I think that's hard for people to get. I like it when things suddenly affect the painting. I mix up this red and it affects the whole painting or this little bit of white falls down there, and something changes the whole nature of the thing. The residue on what happens, that's what's in the paintings."
Julian Schnabel
"My compulsion is to create things."
Julian Schnabel
"I didn't want to be like everybody else. Art was my religion."
Julian Schnabel
"I painted the first plate paintings out of desperation because I was trying to make a painting that I had never seen before."
Julian Schnabel
"Sometimes you can make a painting, and it may not be pretty. It may be ugly, but it's better than when it's pretty. What do they say? Ugly can be beautiful; pretty, never."
Julian Schnabel
"I've never made a movie to make money. I've never made a painting to make money."
Julian Schnabel
"I guess I am ruthless too because that's what makes a great artist. But I also respect people, I don't go around stepping on their heads."
Julian Schnabel
"This camera works like photosynthesis. It is as if you were Xeroxing your own face. The pictures have such physicality: their surface is like fine leather, stained from chemicals. Each one has a body and is more than an image."
Julian Schnabel

"When you make art, people try to stop you from doing it, and everything's sort of designed to stop you from doing it. So the fact that it exists is a wonderful thing."

Julian Schnabel Signature

Synopsis

Julian Schnabel began his artistic career in the late 1970s and was part of a contingent of 1980s artists including Jean-Michel Basquiat and David Salle who endeavored to restore painting to its pre-abstraction status. Their style permitted expressivity, even exuberance, and, in contrast to the pervasive intellectualism of Minimalist and Conceptualist art of the time, balanced technical concerns with emotional resonance. As a Neo-Expressionist, Schnabel reintroduced human sentiment to painting and eschewed flatness, heaping materials onto unconventional supports such as black velvet, weathered tarpaulins, and cardboard. In addition to painting, Schnabel's expansive creative impulse led him to branch out into music, photography, and film. Schnabel has received widespread critical acclaim for work as the director of Basquiat, Before Night Falls, and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, among other productions, although he identifies himself as a painter first and foremost.

Key Ideas

Emerging on the heels of Minimalism and Conceptual art, Schnabel's near-mania for excess was, in itself, a potent declaration of his iconoclastic intent. His works, heavily laden not only with emotion - often there is an edge of brutal expressivity - but also quite literally with highly unconventional materials, are his manifestoes. Constructed on irregular supports like black velvet and aged tarpaulins, the lavish chaos of Schnabel's collage-like paintings is in itself a rejection of Minimalist asceticism, a true turning point for painting.
Schnabel arrived on the New York art scene with a precocious vengeance. He acquired almost immediate renown for his outlandish behavior, outspokenness, and egotism. Reviled by some and encouraged, even adored, by others, Schnabel seemed to be reinstituting the cult of the bohemian artist as a means of shameless self-promotion. Critics contended that his work was judged less on its potential merit than on the artist's larger-than-life, charismatic, and idiosyncratic persona.
Schnabel's work frequently features religious and, in particular, Catholic iconography and themes. His youthful engagement with Mexican culture and Meso-American religious practice when his family lived quite close to the Mexican border in Texas persisted as a lifelong fixation, which is reflected in his art. Introducing oblique religious themes in his work was a means by which Schnabel could not only infuse his paintings with meaning, but also, on a more fundamental level, connect with art history, albeit in an often satirical way.

Biography

Julian Schnabel Photo

Childhood

Julian Schnabel was born in Brooklyn, New York, on October 25, 1951 to Esta and Jack Schnabel, the youngest of three children. His long-standing fascination with Mexican culture and Catholic imagery and symbolism, so inherent to much Mexican folk art, was sparked when he was an adolescent. Leaving behind the lively Jewish community of his birthplace, at age thirteen Schnabel moved with his family to Brownsville, Texas., Brownsville was an utterly new, alien world, not far from the Mexican border, which seemed to ignite the creative spark of the inquisitive and innovative teen. As a youth, Schnabel's creative impulse was expressed in various ways; it was during those years that he determined to be an artist. He also sang in a rock band. This creative diversity set the stage for his multifaceted and prolific career.

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Julian Schnabel Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Julian Schnabel
Interactive chart with Julian Schnabel's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

El GrecoEl Greco
Pablo PicassoPablo Picasso
Antoni GaudíAntoni Gaudí
Joseph BeuysJoseph Beuys
Cy TwomblyCy Twombly

Personal Contacts

Jean-Michel BasquiatJean-Michel Basquiat
David SalleDavid Salle
Andy WarholAndy Warhol

Movements

Neo-ExpressionismNeo-Expressionism

Influences on Artist
Julian Schnabel
Julian Schnabel
Years Worked: late 1970s - present
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Jean-Michel BasquiatJean-Michel Basquiat
David SalleDavid Salle
Cindy ShermanCindy Sherman
Jeff KoonsJeff Koons
Damien HirstDamien Hirst

Personal Contacts

Benjamin BuchlohBenjamin Buchloh
Hal FosterHal Foster
Craig OwensCraig Owens
Mira SchorMira Schor

Movements

Neo-ExpressionismNeo-Expressionism

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Cite this page

Content compiled and written by Tracy DiTolla

Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Tracy DiTolla
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
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