Click to search the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library Skip Navigation

Art and Architecture: An Art Book - Polaroids

September 29, 2010

Viewing videos on requires Adobe Flash Player 9 or higher.

Get the Flash plugin from


Copy the embed code below to add this video to your site, blog, or profile.

FREE - Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

The American artist and film director Julian Schnabel has been taking unique large format Polaroids over the past several years using a 20x24 inch Land camera made in the 1970s. The photographs reveal a poetic that has to do with day to day life of being an artist; some pictures are of family, friends, workplace, painting outside, and things he built or just noticed. They record the transformation of life into art and then art into life.

Julian Schnabel and curator Petra Giloy-Hirtz discuss his work and the formation of the book Polaroids.

A selection of the original Polaroids from the book will be on view during the event at Berger Forum. Copies of Julian Schnabel: Polaroids are available for purchase and signing at the event.

Julian Schnabel 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.

Inspired by travel to Barcelona and the architecture of Antonio Gaudi, Schnabel made his first plate painting, “The Patients and the Doctors,” in 1978. His first solo painting exhibition took place at the Mary Boone Gallery in New York in 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 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 National Gallery in Washington D.C. and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

In 1996 he wrote and directed the feature film Basquiat about fellow New York artist Jean Michel Basquiat.  It was included 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 the Grand Jury Prize at the 2000 Venice Film Festival.  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.  His latest film, Miral, will be released later this year by The Weinstein Company.

He lives and works in New York City and Montauk, Long Island.

Petra Giloy-Hirtz, associate professor of literature at the University of Dusseldorf, is a freelance curator, author, and editor in Munich. She is curator of the exhibition Julian Schnabel: Polaroids (NRW-Forum, Düsseldorf; Bernheimer Fine Art Photography, Munich).  Her recent publications include Lucas Reiner: Los Angeles Trees (Prestel 2008), Christopher Thomas: New York Sleeps (Prestel 2009).

In its second season, the program series An Art Book is a celebration of the essential importance and beauty of art books. The events showcase book presentations by world renowned and emerging artists, critics, curators, designers, historians and writers.