Volume 81, Number 9 | July 28 - August 3, 2011
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933

Photos by Toni Dalton

Julian Schnabel’s Palazzo Chupi in August 2007, left, and now, right.

Chupi change dramatic as palazzo’s paint job fades

By Lincoln Anderson

When the black construction netting came off Julian Schnabel’s Palazzo Chupi four years ago, its vivid color sent a shock through the historic West Village. Some neighbors, feeling queasy at the building’s bright exterior, likened the hue to Pepto-Bismol.

Back then, Andrew Berman, director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, raised Schnabel’s hackles by calling the tone “hot pink,” to which the famous painter and film director retorted that it was, in fact, “Pompeii red.”

The Venetian retro-style residence involved constructing an 11-story addition above an existing three-story former stable at 360 W. 11th St.

Clearly, the palazzo’s paint job has faded quite a bit in the elements. Perhaps that was Schnabel’s plan all along — after all, he certainly knows from paint.

But while the building’s color has softened, Berman’s outrage at the project he tried to quash hasn’t.

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder; I am not a big fan of Palazzo Chupi, though I know others who feel differently,” the preservationist said Monday. “Of a less subjective nature, however, is the fact that dozens of Mr. Schnabel’s neighbors independently charged that he performed illegal after-hours work in a rush to get his foundations in the ground before the new community-initiated rezoning took effect, which limited the height of new development in the Far West Village. As a result, Mr. Schnabel was able to get around the new zoning rules which that community fought many, many years for. Unlike the color of the paint, that won’t change over time.”

A request for comment sent to Schnabel’s studio was not responded to by press time.

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