The current group show in Vito Schnabel’s St. Moritz gallery deals with the artistic development from certainty to confusion. US author and journalist Bob Colacello gives his curatorial debut.
After Jeff Elrod’s successful solo exhibition, Vito Schnabel Gallery is now exhibiting various artists: from Andy Warhol to Jean-Michel Basquiat, Elrod, Sterling Ruby, Jonas Wood, Borna Sammak and Julian Schnabel. Besides all the high-end artworks, the special thing about this exhibition, The Age of Ambiguity: Abstract Figuration/ Figurative Abstraction is the curator, who is responsible for the subject and selection of works.
Exuberant and charming Bob Colacello, born 1947, is an American author and journalist.
“I do often come to St.Moritz, I love it and I have many friends here.” Colacello explains. In 1970, Colacello wrote about Andy Warhol’s movie Trash calling it “a roman catholic masterpiece”. This statement called the attention of Warhol and Paul Morrisey, who directed many of Warhol’s movies.
Colacello was offered to start writing for the then newly published, today quite legendary, Interview magazine. He soon became managing editor, and then also art director, until 1983.
Colacello further became one of Warhol’s closest coworkers and confidants. He also supported Andy Warhol in writing his books. The most well-known of these is The Philosophy of Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again. In 1987, three years after Andy Warhol’s death, Colacello published his memoires of the last years at Warhol’s Factory in the book called Holy Terror: Andy Warhol Up Close.
So it is hardly surprising that Colacello’s show at Schnabel’s also includes works by Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
“In the Age of Ambiguity”
The title of the exhibition, which includes 17 high caliber artworks, refers to the increasingly blurred lines between abstraction and figuration inside the contemporary dialogue. “As the 21st century gropes and grapples its way through its second decade, America seems to have entered what may be called: The Age of Ambiguity, a time when everything is fluid and nothing concrete, and confusion overwhelmes certainty,” Colacello describes the thoughts that led to the idea and content of the exhibition.
“It is said that the best artists are the antennae of their society, the prophets of their era. Is it any wonder then, that many younger American painters and sculptors have long abandoned the bygone absolutisms of Minimalism on one hand and Hyper-realism on the other and are making works today that hover in a hard-to-define space that might be called Abstract Figuration or Figurative Abstraction?”
In this context, Colacello shows Andy Warhol’s Camouflage from 1987. “Warhol was always searching for a way to make abstract art that’s not really abstract,” he explains the reason for including this work, which is both an abstract pattern and a representation of classic military fatigues.
In Rashid Johnson’s The Crowd, the lines between abstraction and figuration are blurred with the intention of creating a contemporary portrait that simultaneously expresses anger and unity. Jaqueline Humphries works in a similar way, expressing complexity through simple forms. What also matters to Colacello is beauty itself, and he wishes that visitors will perceive the beauty of the works and how they harmonize with each other.
Author of numerous biographies
Since 1984, Bob Colacello has been an author and journalist covering the cultural, social and political spheres as special correspondent at Vanity Fair. He’s also well known for his many biographies of leading figures such as Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles, Balthus, Rudolf Nurejew and Liza Minelli as well as for Ronnie and Nancy: Their path to the White House, the story of the social and political rise of the Reagans.
The Age of Ambiguity: Abstract Figuration / Figurative Astraction on view until March 5.
Vito Schnabel Gallery
Via Maistra 37, St. Moritz