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Julian Schnabel Show to Inaugurate Pace Gallery’s New L.A. Space (Exclusive)


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Julian Schnabel, the New York-based visual artist and film director (At Eternity’s Gate, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly), will be the first to exhibit at Pace Gallery’s new space in Los Angeles. In early February, the gallery announced that it is merging with L.A.’s Kayne Griffin gallery and that the latter’s nine-year-old La Brea Avenue space — which features a James Turrell Skyspace installation — will be renamed Pace.

Schnabel tells The Hollywood Reporter, that his L.A. show, opening in April, will feature all new works in the “beautiful space,” including a large sculpture that will be displayed in the gallery’s large outdoor courtyard. “I started building it last summer and I’ve been casting it since then and we’re gonna send it out there. I was actually going to put it in front of my house in Montauk but I’ll send it out here for a little while and see how it feels.”

Bill Griffin, co-founder of Kayne Griffin and now a partner at Pace, says that the inaugural show with Schnabel will represent “a return to his large-scale velvet paintings,” but the artist himself doesn’t want to discuss the works “too much” ahead of their unveiling, he says.

Schnabel does say he’s looking forward to coming out to Los Angeles for the opening. “I don’t come out there that much. The nice thing about it is there’s a bunch of friends of mine out there. I like to go visit Guillermo del Toro and see his house and see his monsters. I guess it will be nice that the Oscars will be over — it will be a calm moment,” he says, adding, “It’s nice that people who live there can go to the gallery and see things rather than having to come to New York to see them.”

Prior to the show though there is a Julian Schnabel work on view in Los Angeles. A large-scale sculpture, it was put on display temporarily — poolside at the Chateau Marmont hotel — for the occasion of a dinner on Tuesday, Feb. 15, celebrating Frieze Los Angeles. Among those in attendance were Kim Kardashian West, Kris Jenner, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen and Pace artists Mary Corse, Glenn Kaino and Robert Nava.  “It’s tied to a palm tree over there,” says Schnabel of the work.

The sculpture is titled The Only Really Nice Thing He Had Was His Linens. The name he says comes from a time when he was looking to buy a house in Coral Gables, Florida. Explains Schnabel (who recently was feted with a surprise party in New York to celebrate his 70th birthday), “I went to this guy’s house and it kind of looked like it was in a jungle. It was pretty ramshackle in the way it was all put together but he had beautiful linens, and after leaving the guy’s place I just made this sculpture. It’s a crucifixion that has a carousel house.”

Asked if he has plans in place to direct another feature film — his 2018 Vincent Van Gogh film, At Eternity’s Gate, garnered Willem Dafoe an Oscar nomination for Best Actor — the artist says, “I’ve written a few things over the years and it’s nice that I have a day job. I write with my wife [interior designer] Louise Kugelberg. We’re gonna make some movies.” (He and Kugelberg are the new parents of a three-month-old daughter.)

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‘Julian Schnabel: Self-Portraits of Others’ at the Brant Foundation.

Tom Powel Imaging © Julian Schnabel Studio

Schnabel’s most recent art exhibit, Self-Portraits of Others, staged last year at New York’s Brant Foundation, came out of making At Eternity’s Gate. “I made paintings of Willem [Dafoe] as Van Gogh as props for the movie and then I painted them from life and then basically I ended up turning them into plate paintings,” says Schnabel, whose last show for Pace was in 2020 but was only up briefly because it opened just days before the 2020 pandemic shutdown.

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Julian Schnabel, ‘Let the Wind Speak II,’ 2018

© 202 2 Julian Schnabel / Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York

At the Frieze Los Angeles art fair, opening today, Feb. 17, in Beverly Hills, Pace will also be showing a painting by Schnabel in its booth.

“It’s an honor to have this first inaugural exhibition of the new Pace with his work and it’s such a natural fit in so many ways for Los Angeles,” says Pace’s Griffin, who adds that the merger between the two galleries evolved naturally. He describes the relation between the two galleries a “partnership if you will for now over half a decade of working together with a number of different artists such as James Turrell, Mary Corse and Bob Irwin. It got to a point where it developed where we said, ‘Hey, this is real. How can we go further?”

Pace — which operates in New York, London, Seoul, Hong Kong, East Hampton, Palm Beach and Palo Alto and Geneva — is part of the latest wave of international and New York galleries opening satellite locations in Los Angeles, including The Hole, Lisson Gallery, Sean Kelly, Shrine and Sargent’s Daughters. Mega-gallery David Zwirner is also expected to be entering the L.A. market having recently hired gallerist Alexandra Tuttle as a Los Angeles-based senior director.

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