Julian Schnabel: Formula for Greatness

Julian Schnabel, Installation View: Dawn in the Tropics: Paintings 1989-1990 (©
Julian Schnabel, Installation View: Dawn in the Tropics: Paintings 1989-1990 (© Julian Schnabel, courtesy Gagosian Gallery. Photo: Robert McKeever)

John Yau reviews the exhibition Julian Schnabel: View of Dawn in the Tropics: Paintings, 1989-1990 is on view at Gagosian Gallery, New York, through May 31, 2014.

Yau writes: The problem with Schnabel’s work is that his marks and actions are made by someone who is easily satisfied by everything he does, which makes what he does an inadvertent parody of genius. Some artists, like Matisse, will work very hard to make everything look easy, while others believe that, thanks to their innate gifts, everything is easy. Schnabel falls into the latter camp, while a painter like Pat Steir, who also applies layers of brushed, poured and splattered paint, is in the former. Her trust in chance isn’t about mastery, though it results in exactly that... Schnabel, on the other hand, knows little more than rote gestures and marks. He lives in a very different domain, where its mostly white male members believe that the grand tradition is their birthright. They know they are the true heirs of Tintoretto and Titian, Barnett Newman and Jackson Pollock. Everything they do is about mastery. Schnabel even has a formula for it."