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clyfford still | museum
An empty gallery with one large abstract oil painting on one end and smaller pieces hanging on the adjacent wall
Installation view, Artists Select: Julian Schnabel.
Photo by Justin Wambold

Artists Select: Julian Schnabel

Jan 20 – Apr 2, 2017

The first curator in the Museum’s 2017 Artists Select series, Julian Schnabel has curated a compelling installation of 60 of Still’s mature, abstract works, including a group of paintings the artist made late in life. Fifteen of Schnabel’s selections have never been on public view. The artist’s installation, conceived in conjunction with Swedish designer Louise Kugelberg, reverses the order in which visitors typically navigate the galleries and also includes a visually arresting, salon-style hanging of smaller, early abstractions made during the mid-1940s.

Clyfford Still, PH-837, 1971. Oil on canvas, 79 x 92 in (200.7 x 233.7 cm). © City and County of Denver / ARS, NY

Read Schnabel’s interview with Bill Powers in the Winter 2016 issue of ARTnews: “They’re just so odd and unique, these Grand Canyons he painted, the ravines…He made such excellent decisions about light and dark.”

Julian Schnabel met Clyfford Still in New York City in 1977, a gathering captured in a photograph that, coincidentally, is now part of the CSM Archives.

Still (center) with Schnabel (left) and painter Ross Bleckner, New York, 1977. Clyfford Still Museum Archives.
Julian Schnabel working at the Clyfford Still Museum, January 16, 2017. Photo by Justin Wambold


About the Artist

Julian Schnabel (b. 1951) emerged as a painter around 1980 and ushered in, almost single handedly, a return from the minimal and conceptual art practices of the 1970s to image-based art that defined the 1980s art world and continues to this day. Schnabel’s work frequently references history and art history, and takes on the scale and appearance of abstract expressionism. He is part of a generation of artists who gained prominence when abstract expressionism’s specter remained strong; several of its leading figures—like Still, De Kooning, and Motherwell—were alive and making important work.

Julian Schnabel. Photo by Steve Clute

Schnabel has had one-person exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art; the Kunstmuseum Basel; the Museo Correr, Venice; and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid. He is also a highly celebrated filmmaker, particularly of films centered on single subjects including Basquiat (1996); Before Night Falls (2000, based on the memoir of writer Reinaldo Arenas); and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007, based on the life of actor and author Jean-Dominque Bauby).