VENICE — “Art is an act of peace,” Julian Schnabel said after accepting Gucci Group’s yearly cinema award during a ceremony Monday at Palazzo Grassi, François Pinault’s art museum here.
“It costs a lot of energy and thought to organize this award,” said Schnabel, wearing one of his trademark pajamas in powdery azure, at a private dinner organized by Gucci Group at the 16th-century Palazzo Papadopoli. “It’s not the apparent thing to do. These things create awareness and I follow the bliss,” said the artist, who also won best director at Cannes for “The Diving Bell and the Butterfly,” and has plans to continue making films. The second edition of the award was once again held during the Venice Film Festival.
Gucci Group chairman and chief executive officer Robert Polet compared the process behind the award to “cross-pollinating,” as it is bestowed on artists outside the film world who contribute to cinema. “Our group draws from the creativity that is constantly innovated in a fresh new way,” said a beaming and relaxed Polet. “The best creative minds take ideas from all over, reinvent them, reworking them in different combinations, and put them together, originating products that people were not even aware they wanted.”
Polet praised Schnabel as a “visual artist who followed his intuition to create a masterpiece in a different field.”
Actor and director Danny Huston said that “life is the best experience you can bring to cinema,” and praised the award for highlighting “a wonderful collection of people who lived and [brought] their sensibility to filmmaking.” Huston was part of the selection committee along with actress and producer Michelle Yeoh; artist Francesco Vezzoli; Stefano Tonchi, The New York Times T magazine’s editor in chief, and Marco Müller, director of the Venice Film Festival.
Others nominated for the prize were photographer Anton Corbijn, novelist Lee Chang-Dong, artist Piotr Uklanski and journalist Bhavna Talwar. Musician Nick Cave was the award’s first recipient last year.
This story first appeared in the September 6, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.