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April 15, 2014

Julian Schnabel: In The Course of Seven Days

A Rare Look Inside the Artist's Home Studio as He Opens His First US Museum Show Since the 1980s

Julian Schnabel’s bold, appropriative style has polarized critical opinion since he burst onto the New York art scene in the late 1970s, becoming one of America’s most famous living painters. His reputation as an artist was almost eclipsed by his success as a film director, with credits including Basquiat and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, for which he won the Palme D’Or. Porfirio Munoz’s documentary In The Course of Seven Days is timely: currently showing at the Dallas Contemporary—his first US museum show since the 1980s—and with two solo exhibitions coming up, the controversial Brooklyn-born painter is back in vogue. “This show is a capsule of what happened, a selection of paintings from the past 10 years, more or less,” says Schnabel of Every Angel Has a Dark Side, which opens at the Dairy Art Centre in London on 25 April. “It's a continuum of ways that I have made marks, used materials and created images.” 

Seven things that Julian Schnabel is excited about this spring:
1. Seeing my son.
2. Meeting all those fresh new people that are waiting to meet me.
3. Watching the buds turn into flowers.
4. Getting in the water.
5. Surfing.
6. Seeing these paintings hanging in all of these different places and seeing how people react to them.
7. Hanging around with my friends.
And everything else. 

Every Angel Has a Dark Side runs at The Dairy Art Centre from April 25 through July 27 2014. View of Dawn in the Tropics: Paintings, 1989-1990 opens at the Gagosian Gallery, NY on April 17 - May 31. Julian Schnabel: An Artist Has A Past (Puffy Clouds and Strong Cocktails) is at the Dallas Contemporary until 10 August.

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Daniel Arsham: Occupant

The New York-Based Artist Gears Up for a Genre-Defying Performance at Art Basel

Daniel Arsham’s multidisciplinary art practice incorporates sculpture, design and theatre, creating a body of work that is both sublime and energetic. Today, photographer Clément Pascal captures a rehearsal of Arsham’s latest large-scale performance project, Occupant, opening this December at Art Basel Miami. The artist’s long-standing collaborator, choreographer Jonah Bokaer, joins him in the cavernous Basilica Hudson, a 19th-century, formerly industrial space in upstate New York where four dancers move delicately around Arsham’s chalk objects, arranged in a geometric spread across the floor. “Because I operate within so many different artistic spheres, people often confuse my role,” explains Arsham, who was first introduced to dance by the late avant-garde choreographer Merce Cunningham. “In the art world people think I have an architectural background, in dance I’m an artist in the traditional sense, and in architecture they have no idea where to place me.”

How do you approach the setting of a piece like this?
Daniel Arsham:
Most theatrical work has a stage scenario in mind, though our work is more fluid and can operate in a gallery, museum or a traditional theatrical setting. Sometimes this can be quite challenging because of the changing nature of the shape of a space. If you choreograph a piece you need to bear in mind that the movements need to be easily translatable to retain the same impact. 

Tell us about the sculptures used in Occupant.
DA: I presented Jonah with the idea that we would have numerous technological objects such as cameras and microphones, cast in chalk plaster. These are white ghosts of their former selves, and would be eroded and transformed by the performers. A lot of the way this happens is through games that Jonah creates with the dancers. Jonah will tell them which items they should touch, trying to get to a place where the dancers can forget the original purpose of the object.

What spurred the use of chalk plaster?
DA: I use chalk because it degrades as performers use it. In this show, the stage floor will be covered in black paper. As the objects are used, marks accumulate on the floor, creating a large drawing. The objects do break and I usually try not to prescribe to the dancer what the objects represent. For Occupant, it’s been helpful to put the dancers in a mental framework where they are actually trying to unlearn what these objects are, and how to use and hold them. 

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Yayoi Kusama: Self Obliteration

Japan’s Polka-Dot Pioneer on a Life at the Mercy of Her Art

“She says that if she doesn’t paint she wouldn’t exist,” says Martín Rietti of his latest subject, 84-year-old Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama. “Her work has an authenticity that I don’t often see in contemporary art.” The Argentinian director visited Kusama at her studio in Tokyo ahead of her latest show that opens at the Museo de Arte Latinoamericano de Buenos Aires, curated by Deputy Chief Curator of MALBA, Philip Larratt-Smith, and Francis Morris, who curated her retrospective at the Tate in 2012. This first major retrospective in Latin America opens tomorrow before traveling to four other cities in South and Central America over the next year and a half. It leads the viewer through over 100 works created between 1950 and the present day, spanning her early period in Japan, 15-year stint in New York where she befriended fellow artists Georgia O’Keeffe, Donald Judd and Joseph Cornell, and her return to Tokyo, where she has been living voluntarily in a psychiatric clinic since 1977. “Her work is not only a revelation of her inner psychic reality but also a sort of time capsule of the emancipatory and utopian moment of the late 1960s,” says Larratt-Smith. “She is a very seductive person, secretive and charming. When she speaks the obsessive cast of her mind becomes immediately clear: she talks in circles, often repeating the same thing many times. It is clear that she has deep psychic wounds, but also that her work sustains her and keeps her going.”

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