It gave me exactly no pleasure today to shruggingly pan the AGO's Julian Schnabel show, Art + Film. More than anything, I guess I hated having to do it at all; so much ink has been spilled on Schnabel's art career over the years -- most of it bloody -- that I felt like my adding to the pile was an exercise in general futility.
Still, everyone has to have a job, and part of mine, at least, is writing about shows, so I did what I had to in the space that I had to do it. What I didn't have time to mention was my esteem for Schnabel's work as a director; when I first saw it, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly struck me as among the most original, visually and emotionally compelling movies I had ever seen -- and still is.
What it all boils down to is that Schnabel appears to have finally found the scale and breadth of canvas he's always craved up on the silver screen, where his appetite for narrative and robust visual invention can be put to best use. Just no more museum shows, please; when we met, I actually quite liked the guy for the creatively enthusiastic dude he was. However I may feel about most of his work, there's much to be learned from his experience, and I wouldn't mind seeing his legacy focused on his best work, which is now the domain of Hollywood.