The fourth exhibition in the Nicola Erni Collection for the first time presented the large group of works by Jean-Michel Basquiat. Shown were pieces in various media dating from 1980 to 1988, thus providing a fascinating overview of the late master's oeuvre. 

Furthermore, the exhibition showed large-format paintings from the 90s by Julian Schnabel, an installation by artistic duo Tim Noble & Sue Webster as well as photographs by Steven Meisel, Anthony Hernandez, Nick Knight and Helmut Newton. 

Artists on View

Jean-Michel Basquiat

Painter. Born 1960 in New York. Died 1988 in New York.
Jean-Michel Basquiat arrived at painting from the graffiti and hip hop scene. Within eight years he created an oeuvre as fascinating as it is complex. The art-historical canonisation of Basquiat’s works is as diverse as the interpretation of them is subjective. Basquiat was very receptive and well-read and alongside autobiographical references he incorporated into his art his vast knowledge: of the streets; of historical, sociocultural and art-historical erudition; of literature, music, comics, symbols, and visual references from TV and mass media. 

Steven Meisel

Photographer. Born 1954 in New York, where he also lives and works.

Steven Meisel is highly acclaimed for his provocative and controversial imagery and his narrative approach whilst constantly incorporating and questioning contemporary issues.

Meisel studied fashion illustration at the Parsons School for Design in New York where he later taught part-time. He started working for the fashion designer Roy Halston Frowick as an illustrator and thereupon moved to Women’s Wear Daily. As a side job, he photographed models for a model agency and was fascinated by the medium to which he dedicated himself from then onward.

Meisel worked as a photographer for two Italian magazines: Per Lui and Lei, edited by the later editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia, the late Franca Sozzani. As one of the very first photographers, Meisel signed a major contact with the publisher Condé Nast to create every cover for Vogue Italia from 1988 to 2014. He also worked for numerous other magazines. e.g. W Magazine and Vanity Fair Italy.

Anthony Hernandez

Photographer. Born 1947 in Los Angeles. Lives and works between Los Angeles and Fairfield, Idaho.

Anthony Hernandez, the child of Mexican immigrants, served for two years as a medic in the US Army during the Vietnam War before taking up photography in 1969. He took basic photography courses while attending East Los Angeles College from 1966–67 though he is largely self-taught.

Hernandez' main focus lies on capturing the social landscape in an urban environment. Moving from black-and-white to colour, from 35 mm to large format cameras, and from the human figure to landscapes and to abstract details, he has produced a varied body of work informed by beauty and a subtle engagement with contemporary social issues all over the world with a particular focus on Baltimore, Saigon, Rome and especially Los Angeles.

Nick Knight

Photographer/imagemaker and filmmaker. Born 1958 in London, where he also lives and works.

Nick Knight studied photography at the Bournemouth & Poole College of Art and Design. Whilst he was still studying, in 1982, he already published his first book of photographs, Skinhead. From the mid-1980s onward, he consistently contributed to magazines such as i-D, Vogue, Dazed & Confused, and Visionaire. His fashion images are highly regarded for challenging conventional ideals and parameters of beauty, aesthetics, and of photography itself.

In 2000 Knight launched the pioneering fashion website SHOWstudio.com, an interactive platform for the distribution of videos, photographs, and illustrations featuring fashion.

Helmut Newton

Photographer. Born 1920 in Berlin. Died 2004 in Los Angeles.

Helmut Newton had already completed an apprenticeship with a Berlin fashion photographer and remained true to fashion even during his years in exile. In the mid-1950s he returned to Europe and started working for Vogue and various other fashion magazines. Having achieved international fame during his lifetime, Newton’s legendary staged black-and-white photographs of “femmes fatales” possess a narrative character full of erotic glamour.

Tim Noble & Sue Webster

Installation artist duo. Born 1966 in Stroud and 1967 in Leicester, UK, respectively. Live and work in London.
Tim Noble and Sue Webster have worked together since 1996 and are considered part of the “Young British Artists” (YBAs). Inspired by the punk movement and questioning the status quo, their installation and sculptural work is essentially comprised of shadow works and light works. At their core, the works are about contrast: light versus shadow, form versus anti-form, art versus commerce.

Julian Schnabel

Painter, filmmaker, and photographer. Born 1951 in New York. Lives and works between New York and Montauk (Long Island).

Schnabel studied art at the University of Houston (1969–73) and attended an Independent Study Programme at Whitney Museum of American Art (1973–74). After a first stay in Italy in 1977, Schnabel paid another visit to Europe a year later and was particularly inspired by the architecture of Antoni Gaudí in Spain. The idea for his renowened large-format paintings made with broken ceramic plates has its roots in that very first trip to Barcelona. Beside the so-called “plate paintings”, Schnabel experiments with a vast rage of materials and substrates to create his monumental works. In his eclectic and expressive style he combines literary and pictorial references from the past with abstract signs.

Besides working as an artist, Julian Schnabel has also produced and directed films, e.g. Basquiat (1996); Before Night Falls (2000); The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007) and Van Gogh - At Eternity's Gate (2018)