Perhaps the imploding real estate market is getting under the skin of Julian Schnabel, the artist turned film director turned high-end condo developer. The auteur's movies are widely admired and his smashed-plate paintings were at least big in the 1980s, but his hot pink ("Pompeii red") Palazzo Chupi has turned into a controversial icon for angry neighbors, gauche celebrity speculators and tumbling prices. And though Chupi didn't come up during Schnabel's 60 Minutes interview, the thin-skinned artist didn't take this blessing to heart, instead lashing out at Morley Shafer for daring to ask about art critic Robert Hughes, one of his most prominent detractors.
Poor Shafer almost certainly thought this would be another one of his fun, soft, "meet a nifty artist I admire" profiles, but Schnabel insisted on basically calling him a "lazy" egomaniac jerk. You might think a self-promoter like Schnabel would be especially numb to critics, but that's oddly often not the case with publicity hounds. (Take, for example, some of the fameballs who emailed Sheila!)
But then having a thin skin is, in a way, the ultimate form of self promotion, for example if it gets people talking about what otherwise might have been a forgettable 60 Minutes profile, and helps shore up your reputation as an artist to boot. Schnabel might be called a schlockmeister by some, but we can rest assured he's a Real Artist because he's difficult!
Watch the Real Artist on the television, in the clip up top.