cover image Julian Schnabel

Julian Schnabel

Julian Schnabel, Author ABRAMS $75 (367p) ISBN 978-0-8109-4633-0

Artist, filmmaker and photographer Schnabel (b. 1951) is celebrated here in a book as big and glossy as the 80s--the decade that saw his sweeping, theatrical bravado in full flight. The era's notables are well represented in his signature broken-plate portraits; the painterly, rugged tableaus feature Azzedine Alaia, Tina Chow, Alba Clemente, Elton John and many more. Notes, gallery installations and preliminary drawings from nearly 30 years reveal an insatiable appetite for scale. Whether referencing Flaubert or Humpty Dumpty, working with abstract or figurative styles, evoking religious iconography or kitsch--or some combination thereof--the sense of gesture and mass always dominates. Except for stray black-and-white shots from the set of Schnabel's movie Before Night Falls, the reproductions in this monumental, lavish tome (published to coincide with an international traveling exhibition beginning in April 2004) are organized by loose chronology. Readers seeking trenchant analysis will be disappointed; with no discussion of influence, technique, or trajectory, the book, which Schnabel helped design, offers a meandering introduction with such vague observations as,""Painting is the only thing that really works for me."" Unabashed Schnabel enthusiasts, however, will be thrilled with the hundreds of gorgeous reproductions. 430 full-color and 20 b&w illustrations.