Stella Schnabel Gets Down

The New York Actress Pulls Out Her Best Moves at Her Father's Studio

Stella Schnabel teases out her inner dancehall queen for photographer Rachel Chandler’s debut film. The hypnotic short was captured earlier this year in the balmy August heat during a five-hour dance-athon at Stella’s father, artist and director Julian Schnabel’s Montauk studio. “I had wanted to film her dancing for several years,” says Chandler, a contributor for, Purple Diary and Dazed Digital. “She would come to my nights when I was a DJ and I would just watch her.” The haunting score comes from Paris artist and agnès b. collaborator Charles Derenne’s musical project, 1982. “I was asking a lot of her and her openness exceeded my expectations,” continues the filmmaker, whose intimate, on-set crew included Schnabel’s Chihuahua, Little Joe. Read on for the actress' thoughts on dance.

What type of music do you like to dance to?
Stella Schnabel: Any Aphex Twin album, Nas, Mobb Deep and of course the original New York OG Lou Reed.  

Where do the dutty vibes come from?
SS: I've been going to Jamaica since I was a kid; it’s a reliable source to get my mood in a good spot.

Favorite dancing memories?
SS: My first rave was outside of London when I was 14 with my old pal, Dan Macmillan. Since then, dancing with my girlfriends from Brooklyn at their block parties.

Who is your dream dance partner?
Bez! And Nancy Sinatra, Tina Turner, James Brown, Chris Walken, Yolandi Visser.

What do you do to get in the mood to dance?
There is never a moment I don’t want to.

(Read More)

Conversations (16)

  • Joe Battle Artist
    She is her father's daughter. And that is a great thing.
  • MariaMcLintock
    I enjoyed it as a piece of pornography
    • Posted By MariaMcLintock
    • May 12, 2014 at 10:32AM
    • Share Comment:
  • MariaMcLintock
    Twerking has officially become contemporary art...
    • Posted By MariaMcLintock
    • May 12, 2014 at 10:31AM
    • Share Comment:
  • Mozartmike
    I was a dancer,a ballet dancer,and while some, perhaps shun this short claiming that she moves badly.And when compared to a professional she moves like a brick,to a clubber she be laughed at on the dance floor,compared to the latest ritual dance of come hither,but I don't see any signs posted anywhere or any statements/claims made that state that, this is yet another beckoning performance either.She is a person who is moving,using her body to please herself,not sell tickets.For those men who criticize her movement I would be will to bet that the same person doing the exact same movements only this time taking off her clothes,they'd be climbing over one an other with fists filled with dollar bills hoping that in the process of stuffing those bills,will be called by that very same woman to spend a night with,would not be kicking her out of bed even if she ate crackers.but alas fellows she's not doing so. So hold onto the shallowness of critical critiquing,until you can judge things for what they are......And that was ....All together now......A woman dancing for her own pleasure !
  • contemporary culture love
    This made me happy to watch! Strong beautiful women expressing themselves through dance, music and film.
  • diego montero espina
    Is this a joke? Horrribbbble!!!!!! The cheapest, most vulgar ever, not sexy, coarse, clumsy, an embarrassment!!!!! What happened when she bent back?could'nt get out of the mooove? puaj, so many other things to do instead of strutting around in a nightdress, to call it something.
    • Posted By diego montero espina
    • November 24, 2013 at 6:34AM
    • Share Comment:
  • The_Dark_Lady_2
    I was disappointed by this. Stella is beautiful but her movement didn't express much to me. Perhaps she should take the harder route and study dance and movement so she communicate what's in her head through her body - this didn't.
    • Posted By The_Dark_Lady_2
    • November 24, 2013 at 2:39AM
    • Share Comment:
  • Franco De Rose
    hmm not bad, very flexible...
  • Alicia
    Does there need to be a message? Perhaps the message simply is that there is a beautiful woman engaging in movement that makes her happy? While there are a lot of opinions about Stella Schnabel and her undeniably privileged upbringing, perhaps this film was only meant to regard an example of what is beautiful. Yes, an argument could be made that this film feeds into our narcissistic popular culture...or perhaps it doesn't need to have a message. To judge whether this film is meant to have a meaning is possibly a pointless endeavor. Rachel Chandler says herself that she has wanted to film Stella dancing for many years, so that is what she did. She fed a creative urge, which is what any ambitious individual wants to do. While disliking this film is certainly a valid opinion, placing judgment on it and comparing it against what might be considered "good" art is a waste of time in my opinion. That Desarrollar Performance depicts the meditative movements of the Whirling Dervish dance...which is at once completely different from what Stella is doing and also, perhaps, one in the same. The argument could be made that her dance is meditative for her. Most people engage in different acts that they find to bring them peace and happiness, so maybe that film is depicting Stella's meditative act as well as functioning as a meditative act for Rachel Chandler. Is the man in the Desarrollar Performance a Whirling Dervish? He is not wearing the traditional garb of this spiritual sect.
    • Posted By Alicia
    • November 21, 2013 at 11:45PM
    • Share Comment:
  • lauras
    Ok..REALLY? Stella really? Rachel, what was the message? How were you trying to question the act? If its about endurance? check this out <a href="" target="_blank"></a> 36 minutes non stop. Exquisite form in space. Beautiful poetic motion.
    • Posted By lauras
    • November 19, 2013 at 10:26AM
    • Share Comment:
  • flynn
    mesmerizingly good or bad?What IS she wearing?
    • Posted By flynn
    • November 18, 2013 at 7:04PM
    • Share Comment:
  • NowLes
    "Hedda, you can bet you'll never bed one Betta…" If you think all portraits must be about Beauty you are severely limiting your scope and must have a very shallow appreciation for life and art. Work on it or keep it to yourself. Foolishness is catching, haven't you heard? Dear Stella, If you haven't yet, please find John Roberts' music, specifically his albums Glass Eights and Fences. This is the sound that takes me to that place where my body is most at peace and harmony, as well as charged and challenged while dancing. Hope to see you in Brooklyn, PriceLe$ Freedom
    • Posted By NowLes
    • November 18, 2013 at 2:30PM
    • Share Comment:
  • HeddaHopper
    not the bonniest lass is she?
  • Copy
    Haha. Delusional.
    • Posted By Copy
    • November 18, 2013 at 9:15AM
    • Share Comment:
  • EricShabazz
    So Very not sure what to make of this. But enjoyable to watch to say the least. dance on.
  • andy d
    • Posted By andy d
    • November 18, 2013 at 7:00AM
    • Share Comment:

Add A Comment

You must be logged in to comment


    Straight from the Wolvesmouth

    Chef Provocateur Craig Thornton On the Art of Underground Dining

    “The opening dish is venison, ripped apart and strewn onto the plate to look like a bloody and decayed piece of meat,” says Craig Thornton of the visceral food he will be serving up at Cut Your Teeth, the collaborative installation made with artist Matthew Bone that opens today at the Santa Monica Museum of Art. “You are eating something that looks eerily similar to a deer carcass, but the dish itself includes moss, blackberry beet gastrique, coffee cocoa crumble and purple cabbage.” Armed with a range of culinary experience—from learning his trade at Thomas Keller’s Las Vegas bistro Bouchon to becoming Nicholas Cage’s private chef—and having recently received profiles in The New Yorker and Hollywood Reporter, the man behind culinary sensation Wolvesmouth is captured here by filmmaker Jordan Bahat in a Downtown Los Angeles loft during one of his monthly conceptual dinners. “The Santa Monica installation is the first foray into a direction I’ve wanted to take Wolvesmouth for a long time,” says Thornton, who will be working with art impresario Jeffrey Deitch when Cut Your Teeth moves to New York. “It is a snapshot of everything we push away to keep this perfect idealized box of what we think reality is, leaving a lot of people devoid of knowing where their food comes from.”

    Cut Your Teeth runs at the Santa Monica Museum of Art, October 16 through October 26 and in New York City November 7 through December 14.

    (Read More)

    Deborah Turbeville’s Night Cry

    A Vision of Mexico’s Day of the Dead from the Late Pioneer of Brooding Photography

    A crowd clambers across ghostly ruins in the town of Mineral de Pozos, Guanajauto, Mexico, in Night Cry, today’s haunting film from the late New York fashion photographer, Deborah Turbeville. Steeped in religious iconography, Turbeville envisions her guilty protagonist’s final moments. “I hear people talk about John Ford having a particular place to shoot—Monument Valley in Utah. This was Deborah’s, a location characteristic of her sentiment, mood, and the way she worked,” says cinematographer Marcin Stawarz who first met Turbeville at the dilapidated mining town during Valentino’s Spring-Summer 2012 campaign. The influential image-maker, who recently passed away at 81, started her career as a fit model for friend and designer Claire McCardell, before going on to become Fashion Editor of Harper’s Bazaar in the early 1960s and realizing her passion for photography, shooting for Vogue and W magazine. Turbeville was dubbed the anti-Helmut Newton for her melancholic fashion imagery. “She was always searching for a certain strangeness,” says Stawarz of Turbeville’s approach. “This ruinous architecture reminded her of Roberto Rossellini’s work. Referencing [his 1950 film] The Flowers of St. Francis, she was very much amazed at the way he used architecture in film. She talked about him a lot when we were working.”

    (Read More)

Previously In art

View Full art Archive