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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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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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Paola Pivi: The Bears Within

Existential Conversations Between the Multimedia Artist and Her Fluorescent Friends

Milanese artist Paola Pivi’s vivid polar bears ask profound life questions in an excerpt of Ivan Olita’s playful short that continues our Week of Art. L’Officiel Italia’s Editor-at-Large channels the subconscious of Pivi’s brightly colored sculptures, taking on the role of filmmaker and ventriloquist at Parisian art dealer Emmanuel Perrotin’s Madison Avenue outpost, where the works are currently on show. “It’s definitely more interesting talking to a bear than talking to me,” says Olita. “I felt they had so many things to ask Paola, their creator.” In the past, her animal-inspired installations have variously included a leopard borrowed from a German magician, a pair of zebras in the snowy Alaskan wilderness and an all-white menagerie of horses, cows, ducks and llamas in a warehouse space at the Venice Biennale. Presently residing in India, Pivi lived in Anchorage, Alaska until earlier this year. It is a locale reflected in the form of the feathered neon bears made from urethane foam and plastic on display at the New York exhibition Ok, you are better than me, so what?—so named, says the artist, to provide an “interesting sentence in our competitive society.”

Do you know any stories about bears?
Paola Pivi:
An old Inuit tale: Do you know why polar bears are even more dangerous on the ice? Because they cover their nose with their white paw so you only see two black spots, the eyes. It means that you do not recognize them anymore because usually you tell them from seeing three black spots in the snow.

Do you have any animals of your own?
  There was a dog in Alaska who clearly had as much feeling for me as I did for her, but my husband said we could not keep her—if we went to the supermarket, locked her in the car and went shopping, it would not fair on her.

What has been your favorite animal to work with?
Definitely zebras. They just posed for me.

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