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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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Suriname Dreams

Kenya-Raised Photographer Viviane Sassen’s Colorful Study of a South American Village

Renowned fashion photographer and artist Viviane Sassen turns her lens to the remote Surinamese jungle village of Pikin Slee. Taken from a new series of work which will debut at Amsterdam's Unseen Photo Fair from September 26 and is set to be published in a new Prestel-published book slated for spring 2014, this meditative yet spontaneous series of black-and-white and color images explores the uncanny and unknowable side to her subjects—and indeed herself. Sassen is famed for reinvigorating the realm of fashion photography with her work for Purple, Dazed & Confused and Acne Paper. Born in Amsterdam, she spent much of her childhood in Kenya; the experience is reflected in her lauded 2011 body of work, Parasomnia, a surreal trip through unidentified African locales that reflects her memories of growing up. Pikin Slee is located on the Upper Suriname River, deep within the rainforest. Its 4,000 inhabitants are mostly members of the Saramacca tribe, ancestors of the Maroons who escaped slavery on the Dutch plantations in the 18th century. Sassen first visited Pikin Slee in the summer of 2012. “You can actually speak Dutch with people who descend from African slaves in the middle of the jungle in South America which is such a weird thing to look at in terms of history,” she says.  “What caught my eye was the very traditional way of living, the beauty of overwhelming nature, and the notion of the strange lines of faith which tied together my own history and theirs, in the form of our mutual connections to Africa and the Netherlands.”

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Sturtevant: Leaps Jumps and Bumps

Capturing Four Decades of Groundbreaking and Provocative Work from the Artists’ Artist

An unsettling line of inflatable dolls sits at the window of the Serpentine Gallery in London’s Hyde Park this summer. It comes as part of the Ohio-born, Paris-based artist Sturtevant’s first exhibition at a public institution in the UK, almost half a century after she began “repeating” the works of such New York art-world giants as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. For Sturtevant, the repetition for which she became so notorious is a way of shedding light on art’s inner workings: “It seems so simplistic,” she says, “but it’s oftentimes true that when something is simple, it’s powerful.” Ever rigorous, Sturtevant made a point of learning the techniques used to create the work of art she was repeating, normally choosing iconic pieces––like Warhols, which “work better” because they are recognizable––and executing them again, looking to find out what made them tick. In one famous anecdote, when Andy Warhol was asked about his screen-printing technique he is said to have replied: “Ask Elaine Sturtevant.” Having repeated Joseph Beuys, Paul McCarthy and other significant figures in 20th-century art, Sturtevant has now taken on the 21st century by making work that deals with the culture of repetition in the digital age, some of which can be seen in the video installation in today’s film. “Don’t call it a retrospective,” she says of the exhibition. “When you’re in a certain space, you try to create tension—via tonality, or rhythm—in order to trigger thinking. This shows a certain dynamic, and that’s very good.”

Sturtevant: Leaps Jumps and Bumps will be on view until August 26 at the Serpentine Gallery, London. 

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