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Julian Schnabel, The Patch of Blue the Prisoner Calls the Sky I, 2019.

Julian Schnabel, The Patch of Blue the Prisoner Calls the Sky I, 2019. Oil on found fabric, 108 x 90 inches. © Julian Schnabel.

The Patch of Blue the Prisoner Calls the Sky is Julian Schnabel’s first show in the new Pace Gallery, and he knocks the viewer for a loop. His title derives from Oscar Wilde’s “The Ballad of Reading Gaol” (1898), either a misquotation or a faulty memory of the original. Wilde famously wrote the poem when he was in prison for “gross indecency,” but while he was there, a fellow prisoner was hanged for murdering his wife. In the poem, Wilde slowly identifies himself with the murderer, eventually coining the famous line, “Each man kills the thing he loves.”

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