Artist biography

American painter and printmaker. He studied at the University of Houston from 1969 to 1973 and participated in the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program (1973–4). Probably the most exhibited, financially successful and aggressively self-promoting American artist of his generation, Schnabel emerged suddenly in the late 1970s as a leading and controversial figure within a movement labelled New Image. He produced paintings and prints, and his brash, appropriative style, which shows an awareness of Expressionism, combined huge scale, often garish colours and obscure textual reference. He held his first one-man show at the Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston, TX, in 1978 and subsequently exhibited extensively throughout Europe and the USA. Humanity Asleep (1982; London, Tate), painted over a surface of broken crockery, is typical of what some critics regarded as his attention-seeking devices, but it was partly the product of a preference for collaged and textured surfaces of unusual materials, such as velvet and animal hides, as well as the use of tarpaulin instead of sized canvas. The media attention that has obscured the seriousness of Schnabel's work has also assured its place in the contemporary art market.

Bibliography
D. Kuspit: β€˜The Rhetoric of Rawness: Its Effects on Meaning in Julian Schnabel's Painting', A. Mag., lix/7 (1975), pp. 126–30
Julian Schnabel (exh. cat. by G. Schiff, New York, Pace Gal., 1984)
Julian Schnabel: Paintings, 1975–1986 (exh. cat. by T. McEvilley, London, Whitechapel A.G.; Paris, Pompidou; 1986) [incl. interview and writings by the artist]

DERRICK R. CARTWRIGHT

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