NEW YORK — Plenty of artists show promise at an early age. The same can’t really be said of gallerists. But Vito Schnabel, the 18-year-old son of the artist and filmmaker Julian Schnabel, is off to an auspicious start.

The young Schnabel just finished his first year at The New School, where he is studying art history, but he already has two curated gallery shows under his belt. The first, in November 2003, was a group show consisting of the work of young artists including his sister, Lola, and some friends; the second is of old and new paintings by Ron Gorchov at a raw space on Dominick and Hudson streets through June.

That Gorchov is 75, making him 57 years Vito’s senior, is something the duo got past a long time ago. The elder Schnabel took his son to see Gorchov at his studio in Red Hook in Brooklyn because he thought Vito would like the artist’s work, which consists mostly of minimalist cover blocks. Gorchov’s paintings employ an unusual curvature of the canvas because the artist never liked corners.

Gorchov hadn’t had a show in New York since 1992. “I really like leisure and I don’t like deadlines,” he says of why he hadn’t been pushing his work. “I’m not against succeeding, I just don’t like to be in a situation where there isn’t mutual respect and it’s hard to find that in the art world.”

But there was something about Vito that appealed to him: “He’s a very sweet person, and he doesn’t make a big show of his knowledge, but he has a lot,” Gorchov adds. “He calls me a couple times a day to tell me how much he likes the show.”

While Vito never intended to show anything but young artists,”Ron’s work was brand new to me. It’s no different than finding the next new artist.”

What’s more, Vito’s channels to fabulous young social New Yorkers, such as Margherita Missoni, the Olsen twins and his pals can bring Gorchov to an entirely new audience. “I just feel that people my age need to be more involved [in the art world], not to just see what’s up at Gagosian,” Vito says.

This story first appeared in the May 19, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

So far, the plan is working. Gorchov is already getting commissions and offers of shows, “but I can’t really do them, because they have to talk to Vito,” the artist explains. The prospect of dealing with an 18-year-old has annoyed many of Gorchov’s pursuers, but he doesn’t care. “I want to do everything with Vito now,” he continues. “A major curator came over to my studio and said that nobody under 40 knows my work. Vito cured that.”

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