Vito Schnabel Garners Ridiculous ‘WSJ’ Story on His New St. Moritz Gallery

The true tale of how a rich kid became an art dealer.

Vito Schnabel, Jacqueline Schnabel, Peter Brant
Photo: Nicholas Hunt/Patrick McMullan

In case you didn’t know it, artist and film producer Julian Schnabel’s 29-year old son Vito “has become something of an art world pet” since “his teenage curatorial debut.”

In a gushing profile in the Wall Street Journal today, writer Anna Russell waxes on about his love life (did you know he’s currently dating model Heidi Klum?), his vacations, the exclusive parties he throws, and “what kind of shoes he likes to wear at the airport,” adding that he enjoys “a level of attention typically reserved for movie stars, not art dealers.”

Russell delves deep into the story of how the younger Schnabel came to take over the space of storied Swiss dealer Bruno Bischofberger in St. Moritz, Switzerland, where his first show will open on December 28.

Among other valuable bits of information you probably didn’t know: “Like Aspen, Colo., St. Moritz attracts wealthy vacationers with an interest in high profile art.”

Really? What’s next? Galleries on St. Barth’s?  Oh wait…

Schnabel tells the Journal: “In New York, there’s already so much there. I was looking for a place that was not totally off the beaten path, but where I could build my own voice and not necessarily have to deal with thousands of galleries in the same town.”

We especially liked the part where, after explaining that Schnabel’s first St. Moritz show will feature new paintings and sculpture by rock star artists Urs Fischer and Sterling Ruby, we are told how to view this as not taking key artists away from power dealers like Larry Gagosian, Gavin Brown, or Hauser & Wirth. (Think of it as the art world version of conscious uncoupling.)

“Mr. Schnabel and the artists say their arrangement is personal and nonexclusive,” Russell writes. “It shouldn’t be seen as poaching… It’s another way the current generation of rising-star artists and dealers like Mr. Schnabel are flexing their clout in an art market smitten with anything new.”

Talk about “smitten.”

In case you didn’t already get the memo that Schnabel had a privileged upbringing, we learn that “as a child, Schnabel spent time each year in the Alpine town, much of it wandering Mr. Bischofsberger’s gallery, where his father’s works were sometimes on display.” He also attended Brooklyn’s St. Ann’s school, where Lena Dunham was a classmate.

As if we needed any further proof of Schnabel’s ability to get whatever he wants, he tells the WSJ: “When I walked into Sterling’s studio and saw these sculptures, I immediately thought of St. Moritz.”

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