the schnabulous life

Journey to the Center of the Chupi

“With my hair down, I am approximately this much more sexy.”

Wow. Penelope Green has been on a journey, people. The Times “Home & Garden” writer spent an hour and a half bobbing around in the warm, arty belly of Palazzo Chupi with building creator Julian Schnabel recently, and her utterly hallucinogenic account in today’s paper confirms what we’ve always suspected: That building is alive. Either that or Vito slipped Green one of his schpecial brownies beforehand.

Things start getting weird right around the time that Schnabel, her tour guide, materializes…

…looking very much like a young Henry VIII (as dressed by Eddie Vedder, not Holbein, in a blue flannel shirt, white pajama bottoms and bright red socks).

What does that mean?

Accompanied by this Shakespearan/grunge figure, Green passes through buildings so dense with ornate, reference-laden objects — a sculpture of Clytemnestra about to ax Agamemnon! Seventeenth-century Belgian tapestries!a lamp that looks like a shark’s tooth! “Blood-red Venetian damask”! Venetian glass chandeliers! Nineteenth-century Portuguese antiques! A Picasso copy that Schnabel painted “just to see if I could”; and (Lord have mercy) “trash compactors, washing machines and steam baths” — that she becomes overwhelmed. How can she possibly describe them all? Eventually, she simply gives in to the experience and lets the Chupi wash over her:

(“It would appear three palazzos were toured, though this reporter lost her bearings in palazzo No. 2 and can’t be sure”) Along the way, dogs appeared and vanished, along with Mr. Schnabel’s 22-year-old son, Vito, and a designer and raw food guru named Xavier Llongueras, who fetched new slippers for Mr. Schnabel when it was discovered he was tracking yellow paint everywhere.

Then suddenly there were dwarves everywhere and the whole building was pulsing to the tune of “There Is No Life I Know to Compare With Pure Imagination” and she was laughing, laughing, and then everything went dark.

The Painter and the Pink Palace [NYT]

Journey to the Center of the Chupi