Julian Schnabel (born October 26, 1951) is an American artist and filmmaker. He won a Golden Globe, as well as BAFTA, César Award, Golden Palm and two nominations for the Golden Lion and an Academy Award nomination. He directed Before Night Falls, which became Javier Bardem’s breakthrough Academy Award nominated role and the four-time Academy Award nominated The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. His latest film Miral was shot in Jerusalem in 2009.
It was with his first solo show, at the Mary Boone Gallery in 1979, however, that Schnabel would truly come to be regarded as a major new force in the art world. He participated at the Venice Biennale in 1980, and by the mid-1980s had become a major figure in the Neo-expressionism movement. By the time he exhibited his work in a show jointly organized by Boone and Leo Castelli in 1981, he had become firmly established. His now famous “plate paintings”—large-scale paintings set on broken ceramic plates—received a boisterous and critical reception from the art world. A reputation for making brash pronouncements about his importance to the art world – I’m the closest thing to Picasso that you’ll see in this life – engendered contempt from both colleagues and the viewing public. Schnabel is currently represented by The Pace Gallery in New York.
Schnabel’s signature works contain an underlying edge of brutality, while remaining suffused with compositional energy. Schnabel claims that he’s aiming at an emotional state, a state that people can literally walk into and be engulfed.
Schnabel insists he is a painter first and foremost, though he is better known for his films.
“Painting is like breathing to me. It’s what I do all the time. Every day I make art, whether it is painting, writing or making a movie.”