‘St. Moritz Art Masters’ showcases superlative art from the eighties
Vito Schnabel – son of the legendary artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel – has established himself as one of the most prominent curators of our day, with his gallery founded in New York in 2015 and later expanded in St. Moritz. The art space is committed to cutting-edge programming that explores contemporary art and the surrounding landscape. Following on the heels of a successful inaugural exhibition dedicated to the work of Urs Fischer, as well as a public art installation by Sterling Ruby, this show – St. Moritz Art Masters – promises to be a thought provoking, mixed-media extravaganza.
The exhibition opens on August 26th, featuring top-notch artists who were active during the 1980’s. The show – that runs until September 4 – is an ode to that decade’s figurative motifs in both painting and sculpture, giving centre stage to the works made by Laurie Anderson, Jean- Michel Basquiat, Francesco Clemente, George Condo, Keith Haring, Sherrie Levine, McDermott & McGough, Rene Ricard, David Salle, Kenny Scharf, Julian Schnabel, and Andy Warhol.
The fil rouge that unites these Neo- Expressionist myths is the expressive and gestural strokes of the artists’ creations that embody and exemplify the hallmark of the period. Bold colour, aggressive brushstrokes, and political engagement act as trait d’union within an exclusive and awe-inspiring exhibit. This retrospective tributes the greatest artists of an era that saw a great socioeconomic change due to advances in technology and the beginning of globalisation.
Artists working at the time evolved from the styles of their predecessors while experimenting with new techniques and crafting their own – from Jean-Michel Basquiat’s use of mixed media to Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf’s cartoonish figures. Both Rene Ricard and Basquiat found ways to integrate text into their work using elements of appropriation. George Condo’s Homage to Manet, 1985, emerges from the tradition of 19th- century painting, while David Salle’s Baby Madhouse, 1980, juxtaposes the figurative with abstraction. Also part of the exhibition will be Laurie Anderson’s video work Drum Dance from Home of the Brave, 1986, which will be projected on continuous loop, adding a performative element. The exhibition explores to the core the ways in which artists responded to the zeitgeist of the ‘80s and reacted to the cultural climate of the time.
This show utterly attests to how the American curator has not only nurtured with art his country of origin but also enriched the Engadine scene. Vito Schnabel Gallery’s previous Swiss shows featured works by legendary artists that were bought by collectors from a range of 35,000 Swiss francs to 4.5m Swiss francs (about 27,000 British pounds to 3.5m British pounds). With St. Moritz Art Masters, the bucolic mountain resort of St Moritz is further flourishing its reputation as world-class art destination.
Article by Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi