© Play Hunter
Julian Schnabel loves to paint it big: the ringleader of neo-expressionism’s bad boys who ruled 80s New York art scene knows a thing or two about bombasticness, self-promotion and polarising press and critics alike. But the owner of “an ego the size of Manhattan”, as one critic admiringly put it, also knows how to direct award-winning art movies, notably Before Night Falls and The Diving Bell And The Butterfly.
Schnabel’s way of wearing silk pyjamas in-and-out of Palazzo Chupi, his dusty venetian rose mansion in the West Village, has become rather à la mode these days. Going full Julian Schnabel baronial sleepwear swagger is the new black, according to AW16 menswear shows.
The thing is, Schnabel has never stopped painting and you must never stop looking. Cut to Zuoz. A fine set of artists and international art royalty had come to the small village near glitzy St. Moritz ski resort in Switzerland to attend Engadin Art Talks, a two-day informal exchange of ideas between art and architecture.
Relaxing on the terrasse of a restaurant, the Julian Schnabel of mature years was almost shockingly easygoing and accessible. The ego was well hidden underneath the Swiss army woollen blanket Schnabel had thrown over his shoulders for protection from the chilly north-easterly wind. The screen of his smartphone was cracked. Everything about Schnabel was understated and quiet. It brought out his strong on-camera presence. Mr Schnabel simply can’t help painting it big.