Painter, sculptor, filmmaker, Julian Schnabel is larger than life, and so are his artworks, some towering to two to three times the height of an average person. The artist’s monumental works are currently being shown at The Brant Foundation Art Study Center, on view through March. The exhibition captures the diversity of Schnabel’s work, from the many facets of his “plate paintings” to the table he designed for Francisco Clemente. By bringing Schnabel’s emblematic works together, the Brant Foundation offers a comprehensive look at how Schnabel has impacted the art world in a way that has not been attempted since the Whitney Museum’s retrospective show 26 years ago.
In addition to Schnabel’s work, the exhibition also shows the fertile relationship he has had with the Brant Family. On the lower level several portraits of Peter Brant’s family can be seen, commissioned by the family for Schnabel’s signature style. The most esoteric portrait commissioned is that of the portrait of Lily Brant. Legend has it that the top half of the painting was blotted out in white after Ms. Brant remarked she did not like the eyes and if Schnabel could do something about it. That was 1998. In 2001, Schnabel finished his two paintings, both entitled Large Girl with No Eyes, in which he reproduced a portrait he found at a thrift shop except with a swath of purple covering their eyes.
With that in mind, The Brant Foundation brought the art to life last Sunday, bringing a number of guests to the opening event, including a large group of attendees who Schnabel himself has captured in portrait. It’s not at every opening that viewers get to see the subject of a portrait next to the actual piece painted of them. Other luminaries of various disciplines also attended the opening, among them were Stephanie Seymour, Christopher Walken, Benicio Del Toro, Calvin Klein, Nicole Miller, Debbie Harry, Tommy Hilfiger, and Rita Ackermann.
The Brant Foundation Art Study Center is open to the public Mondays through Fridays, from 10AM to 4PM by appointment in Greenwich, CT.