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Julian Schnabel

At Eternity's Gate (screening followed by a discussion with director Julian Schnabel)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York
15 December, 7pm

Willem Dafoe as Vincent van Gogh in Julian Schnabel’s new film At Eternity’s Gate. Courtesy of CBS Films
Willem Dafoe as Vincent van Gogh in Julian Schnabel’s new film At Eternity’s Gate. Courtesy of CBS Films

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Julian Schnabel

Julian Schnabel (solo show)
Hall Art Foundation | Schloss Derneburg Museum, Holle
April - October 2019

Julian Schnabel, Untitled (Treatise on Melancholia), 1989 © Julian Schnabel
Julian Schnabel, Untitled (Treatise on Melancholia), 1989 © Julian Schnabel

The Hall Art Foundation is pleased to announce an exhibition by American artist Julian Schnabel to be held at its Schloss Derneburg location. Considered to be a figurehead in the resurgence of painting in the late 1970’s, Schnabel continues to create gestural and highly charged work that appropriates ancient and modern literary and cultural references, while conflating the boundary between figuration and abstraction. This exhibition brings together 7 large-scale bronze sculptures installed both indoors and on the adjacent property, together with a series of monumental paintings on found tarpaulin.

In the five part series, Untitled (Treatise on Melancholia) (1989), Schnabel paints on olive green tarpaulin, a material traditionally used by the military, and first sourced by the artist in 1985 while he worked in Mexico. Bold applications of vinyl paint (gesso) are juxtaposed against horizontal bands of heavy and opaque fabric that have been sewn together. With no discernible foreground or background, the intersecting white shapes that might otherwise suggest a landscape or still life, are abstracted.

Untitled (Treatise on Melancholia) (1989), presents a solitary abstract form floating within an undefined field spread over 5 panels. The found tarpaulin is marked with various stains and indentations, traces from its earlier life in Mexico. Schnabel's untraditional selection of material and use of vinyl paint highlights the notion of gesture as both a physical act and as idea.

The Cuartel de Carmen in Seville, Spain is a monastery that was built in 1492 and had been occupied by the military in the beginning of 20th century and abandoned in 1978.  For this exhibition Schnabel made 24 tarp paintings which he considered to be 24 stations of the cross.  In 1979, Schnabel began to incorporate bronze elements in his paintings, and later progressed to monumental sculpture in the early 1980s. Idiota (1989) was first assembled in situ at the Cuartel de Carmen.  This cruciform (or battle standard) was built entirely from material collected from the barracks. A large piece of bronze cast from a slab of wood acts as the standard and displays the title, “IDIOTA” above a series of Spanish names, “Carmen Romero,” “Manuel Benitez,” among others, are the names inscribed on the cross and bronze flags that hang from each arm. The work signifies Schnabel’s affinity for linguistic reference, and for the formal and pictorial quality of the letters themselves.  Besides being an appreciation for those who helped him make the sculpture.

Several bronze sculptures include autobiographical or literary references. MacBeth (1989) is a somber figure cast from a weathered wooden log, bluntly carved into a sulking head and torso and placed on a planked platform. The title of the sculpture, Si Tacuisses (1990) is a shortening of the Latin phrase that continues “…philosophus mansisses” (If you had kept your silence / you would have stayed a philosopher). Or, in other words, “If you had kept your mouth shut they wouldn’t know how dumb you are.” The bronze is cast from the stump of a palm tree, a common icon in Schnabel’s work, realistically rendered with tiny roots on its base and upward growing branches at its peak. A speech bubble assigns an anthropomorphic quality to the work. The declaration, “I went to Tangiers and had dinner with Paul Bowles”, references the American expatriate composer and author, then living in Morocco.

Hall Art Foundation


Julian Schnabel

The Passion (group show)
Hall Art Foundation | Schloss Derneburg Museum, Holle
April - October 2019

The Hall Art Foundation is pleased to announce a group exhibition, The Passion, to be held at its Schloss Derneburg location. Installed throughout the cloister of the former monastery, the show examines the use of Christian iconography in contemporary art, while paying homage to Schloss Derneburg’s long ecclesiastical history. The show will feature approximately one hundred paintings, sculptures, videos, photographs and works on paper by twenty-nine artists. All the works come from the Hall and Hall Art Foundation collections.

Derneburg has a long history. Once a fortified dwelling, it was ceded to the Bishopric of Hildesheim during the 12th century. For the next 700 hundred years it then served as the home of various religious orders: first Augustinian nuns, then Cistercian nuns. During the Reformation, the Protestant Dukes of Brunswick took over Derneburg and it became a Lutheran establishment for “young ladies”.  With the Restoration, control of Derneburg reverted to the Bishopric of Hildesheim and the property was developed into a large and prosperous Cistercian monastery. Most of the current structures date from this period.

Derneburg was secularized at the start of the 19th century when the Prussians took control of this part of Germany. At the end of the Napoleonic wars, and following the Congress of Vienna, ownership of Derneburg passed to the Anglo-Hanoverian Dukes of Münster who engaged the Hanoverian architect Georg Ludwig Friedrich Laves to convert the property into their country seat which they then used as a showcase for their extensive collection of art and other artifacts. In 1974, Georg and Elke Baselitz acquired Schloss Derneburg from the Münster family and it became the Baselitz home and studio for the next thirty odd years.

In 2006, the Baselitz’s sold Derneburg to the Halls who then also acquired the adjacent Derneburg Domain (which had been sold to the State of Lower Saxony by the Münsters at the end of WWII). During restorations to the property, dozens of graves were discovered in the old cloister. These were carefully cataloged as part of a detailed archaeological study. The graves (and their corporeal contents) remain in place to this day. While the Schloss is reputed to be haunted by some of these earlier inhabitants, all indications are that this spectral presence is wholly benign.

Hall Art Foundation