The spirits that I called at Oko is Dan Colen’s first solo exhibition in New York City since his disastrous Gagosian show in 2010.
The final installment of Julian Schnabel 1978–1981, the rotating exhibition of four of the artist’s early works, has arrived with “Abstract Painting on Blue Velvet” (1980). If you’re seeking closure, however, I doubt that you will find it here.
As an undergraduate, I took a seminar in contemporary art issues conducted by the theater designer Robert Israel, who once mused about coming across one of Robert Rauschenberg’s 1950s-era combines in a collector’s pristine white apartment. The artwork, composed of recycled scraps of garbage, “looked like it was peeing all over the place.”
“The Patients and the Doctors” (1978) is Julian Schnabel’s first plate painting. It is also the title of a prose poem/essay he wrote for the February 1984 issue of Artforum, a ham-fisted manifesto that did little to dispel his reputation for defensive bluster.
Is it possible to look at Julian Schnabel’s “St. Sebastian” (1979) with fresh eyes, as if the past 34 years of Schnabel Sturm und Schnabel Drang never really happened? As if it were a new painting fresh out of an unknown artist’s studio, landing inconspicuously in a storefront gallery on East 10th Street between 2nd and 1st?