Julian Schnabel is an artist, filmmaker, musician, and writer, best known in the art community for his hasty rise to fame after the exhibition of his famous Plate Paintings at Mary Boone Gallery in 1979. Encouraged to draw by his mother during his childhood in Brooklyn, Schnabel’s artistic interest piqued as a teenager when he encountered the art of the Mexican muralists. After earning his BFA at Houston University in 1973, Schnabel enrolled in the very prestigious Independent Study Program at the Whitney Museum, and began his career as an artist.
Rapidly achieving notoriety in the late 1970s, Schnabel became the infamous star of the internationalist Neo-Expressionist movement in the 1980s, with his works on unusual materials such as velvet, and garnering as much attention through his brash remarks and self-aggrandization as through his art. Along with fellow Neo-Expressionists David Salle (American, b.1952), Eric Fischl (American, b.1948), and Sigmar Polke (German, 1941–2010), Schnabel’s art can be seen as a reaction against the cool compositions of Minimalism and Conceptualism, in its rough texture and violently expressive return to addressing the human condition in painting. In 1996, he began a career as a filmmaker with Basquiat and his movie The Diving Bell and the Butterfly based on the novel by Jean-Dominique Bauby had a great success. Since 2010, a selection of his Polaroids taken since 2002 has been held in London, Milan and Paris, which are repainted to underline the highlights of the pictures. He still lives and works in New York.