Schnabel, Julian (shnäˈbəl) [key], 1951–, American artist, b. Brooklyn, N.Y. He studied art at the Univ. of Houston and the Whitney Museum. A neoexpressionist, he became a superstar of the 1980s art world after his first one-man show in New York (1979). Schnabel is particularly noted for large paintings that incorporate broken crockery, e.g., The Walk Home (1985), and for other kinds of work that flout high-art conventions, such as paintings on velvet or linoleum. Later paintings include large portraits of women with lines painted across their eyes and abstract works derived from antique French x-rays. He has also executed a number of sculptures and is well known for his pronouncements on art. In the 1990s he branched out into writing and singing and also became a successful filmmaker, directing Basquiat (1996) and Before Night Falls (2000). Schnabel's reputation as a director was enhanced by his highly acclaimed The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007), which like his other films is a biography and addresses issues of art and suffering.
See his memoir, C.V.J.: Nicknames of Maitre D's and Other Excerpts from Life (1987), and his survey of his life and work, Julian Schnabel (2003).