Julian Schnabel, artist and director, was born in New York City in 1951. In 1965 he moved with his family to Brownsville, Texas. He attended the University of Houston from 1969-1973, receiving a BFA, and returned to New York to participate in the Whitney Museum Independent Study Program. In 1978 Schnabel traveled throughout Europe and in Barcelona was particularly moved by the architecture of Antonio Gaudi, the same year he made his first plate painting, “The Patients and the Doctors.” His first solo painting exhibition took place at the Mary Boone Gallery, New York City, in February 1979.
Schnabel’s work has been exhibited all over the world. His paintings, sculptures and works on paper have been the subject of retrospective exhibitions at The Tate Gallery in London, The Whitney Museum in New York, The Foundation Joan Miro in Barcelona, the Palazzo Venezia in Rome and the Beijing World Art Museum, among others.
His work is included in the public collections of numerous museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, The Guggenheim Museum in New York, The National Gallery in Washington D.C. and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Schnabel’s upcoming exhibition, “Permanently Becoming: Julian Schnabel and the Architecture of Seeing,” opens June 1st at the Museo Correr in Venice.
In 1996 he wrote and directed the feature film Basquiat about fellow New York artist Jean Michel Basquiat. The film was distributed worldwide by Miramax films and was in the official selection of the 1996 Venice Film Festival. Schnabel’s second film, Before Night Falls, based on the life of the late exiled Cuban novelist Reinaldo Arenas, won both the Grand Jury Prize and the Colpa Volpi for best actor for Javier Bardem at the Venice Film Festival 2000. Named to over 100 year-end top ten lists, Bardem’s portrayal in Before Night Falls earned him both Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for best actor. In 2007, Schnabel directed his third film,
The Diving Bell and The Butterfly. He was awarded "Best Director" at the Cannes Film Festival and the Golden Globes and was nominated for four Oscars, including Best Director. Schnabel also directed the documentary Lou Reed’s Berlin, which captured Lou Reed’s only performance of his commercially failed yet masterwork album about jealousy, rage and loss, at St. Ann’s Warehouse, Brooklyn in 2006.
Schnabel’s fifth film, MIRAL, is based on the autobiographical novel of the same title, written by award-winning author and journalist, Rula Jebreal. The film tells the story of Miral, a young Palestinian girl growing up in East Jerusalem and confronting the effects of a prolonged war on every aspect of her life. Raised from early childhood at Hind Husseini’s orphanage and school, Dar El-Tifel, she is gradually awakened to her people’s struggle. Ultimately, she must choose between a path of violence and “Mama” Hind’s belief that education and enlightenment are the only way towards lasting peace.
MIRAL will be released by The Weinstein Co. on March 25.
Julian Schnabel lives and works in New York City and Montauk, Long Island.