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Lola Schnabel


by Charlie Finch
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The crowds poured steadily all evening into Kathy Grayson’s The Hole on the Bowery a week ago Friday for Lola Montes Schnabel’s solo painting debut in the back gallery. In the front gallery, old running buddies Kadar Brock and Matt Jones were featured in a group show of blatant Tauba Auerbach knockoffs.

A slightly damaged Courtney Love showed up at 7:45 pm, skinny-bodied Bob Colacello at 8:15 pm, most of the model types arrived at the nominal closing time at 9 pm, long after the mulled wine was consumed. In between, I chatted with Matthew Lenski, filmmaker son of artists Judy Rifka and Willy Lenski, whose new flick was just accepted by Sundance. Also on hand were the New York Observer’s own Butch and Sundance, Andrew Russeth and Dan Duray, plus artists Alex Arcadia, John Newsom and Les Rogers, the gang from Freight and Volume Gallery, curator Robert Curcio and an ebullient Carlo McCormick.

Everybody but Daddy Schnabel, who was a no-show, probably out of courtly deference to his daughter, whose deft ripples of red and pink recall Julian’s "St. Paolo Malfi" series. The subject matter of these Lolaesques is a group of randy hermaphroditic boys frolicking on seven Greek islands. Once in a while a golden curled head pops up with the wings of an albatross or a ruddy-faced urchin leaps forth in blood covered sheepskins, amidst a restrained muddle of abstract paint.

I guess there hasn’t been so much painterly fun in the Aegean since Brice Marden visited Hydra in the 1960s. Lola, who graduated from Cooper Union in 2008, hasn’t mastered the realm of fable as much as the underrated Sissel Kardel, whose work hers very much resembles.

May I suggest that Lola not be afraid to follow her budding drawing talent to its logical conclusion and not drown in a sea of mess like Daddy. Meanwhile the Hole lives up to its notices as Party Central and a possible refuge for midcareer painters looking for representation or, at least, a spot in a group show.

Lola Montes Schnabel, "Love before Intimacy," Dec. 16, 2011-Feb. 4, 2012, at The Hole, 312 Bowery, New York, N.Y. 10012.

CHARLIE FINCH is co-author of Most Art Sucks: Five Years of Coagula (Smart Art Press).