For those familiar with the name Bob Colacello, it may come as a surprise that he hasn’t curated a gallery exhibition until now. A close Warhol confidante—and the force behind Interview magazine through the 1970s until ’83—Colacello’s journalistic world developed in and around the Factory. As art director at the publication, he witnessed the emergence of some of today’s biggest names. Even now, as a special correspondent for Vanity Fair (since 1984), the access and the depth of his cultural understanding is one most art writers can only dream of. This past week, Colacello finally lent his talents to St Moritz’s Vito Schnabel Gallery for the stunning, potent “The Age of Ambiguity: Abstract Figuration / Figurative Abstraction.” Within, one will find two Warhols, a Koons and many more iconic creators, but of equal importance: younger artists working on the advancement of abstraction.
An untitled Basquiat (acrylic and oil stick on a wood panel from 1981) greets guests at the door. A glowing purple Julian Schnabel work, known as “Ascension IV” (2015), illuminates the subterranean gallery level. But it’s young Brooklyn artist Borna Sammak who steals the show with another untitled piece. Sammak heat-applied T-shirt graphics on canvas in a display of orderly chaos. It feels relevant and exciting. When it’s placed beside a Warhol self-portrait, viewers get the sense it belongs there. Colacello’s mission here was to highlight those who have foregone the absolutisms of minimalism and hyper-realism. Through the aforementioned artists and more—Jonas Wood, Sterling Ruby, Jeff Elrod—he does so with clarity.
“The Age of Ambiguity: Abstract Figuration / Figurative Abstraction” is on now through 5 March at Vito Schnabel Gallery, Via Maistra 37, 7500 St. Moritz, Switzerland.
Lead image courtesy of Vito Schnabel Gallery, photographer Stefan Altenburger, artwork: © Rashid Johnson, Courtesy the Artist and David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles; © The Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat, Private Collection, Florida; © Jacqueline Humphries, Courtesy the Artist and Greene Naftali, New York; © 2017 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, Private Collection; second image courtesy of Vito Schnabel Gallery,
photographer Stefan Altenburger, artwork: © Julian Schnabel, Courtesy the Artist and Vito Schnabel Gallery; © Borna Sammak, Courtesy the Artist and JTT, New York; final image courtesy of Vito Schnabel Gallery, photographer Stefan Altenburger, artwork: © Jeff Koons, Courtesy the Artist and Almine Rech Gallery; © Sterling Ruby, Courtesy Sterling Ruby Studio and Vito Schnabel Gallery