Julian Schnabel and Mastercard. Priceless.

Julian Schnabel and mastercard
Oh yes they did.

This morning, in my usual A.M. haze, I sat down with a cup of coffee and decided to tend to the growing stack of unread New Yorkers that I’ve been using as a door stop. And lo and behold… What do I find in the venerable magazine’s pages? A long-winded Talk of the Town report about the hijinks of white people renaming their condo buildings? Yes. An incisive anthropological report by Jared Diamond on vengeance? Yes. An absolutely hilarious Mastercard advert featuring a contest in which the winner can have their portrait painted by pajama’d ’80s artiste and film director Julian Schnabel? Yes yes yes yes…yes!

According to the fine print, the winner is entitled to a:

4-day trip for (2) to New York before 10/13/08 for Julian Schnabel (“Artist”) (30) minute consultation regarding commissioned Portrait by Artist (framed, original oil on canvas Portrait developed per consultation & delivered to winner on or about: 12/31/08) & $175,000 check for tax burden offset (Prize ARV=$530,000/Estimated Odds 1: 3,588,229).

Thirty minutes? That’s all the winner gets? Julian Schnabel paints your portrait after a “(30) minute consultation” – and that’s worth $530,000? C’mon, people. If it’s valued at a cool half mil, it should at least include dinner with “Artist” at Mr. Chow or the opportunity to party with “Artist” at Cannes. Though, I have to say, if he does as much cosmetic editing on the winner’s portrait as he did on his own (here‘s what he really looks like), it might not be such a bad deal.

Get the money shots after the jump.

Julian Schnabel and mastercard
Sadly, I did not win a portrait by “Artist.”

Julian Schnabel and mastercard
El Schnabel is looking muy macho in his portrait here: complete with toreador stance, cheekbones, classical profile and bear-like chest. Strangely enough, it bears an uncanny resemblance to another well-known portrait, which also has an art industry-meets-Hollywood connection:

Lust for Life with Kirk Douglas
Lust for Life, with Kirk Douglas, playing Van Gogh when he was loco in the coco.

Posted by C-Monster.


  1. Pretty Lady

    My copy of that New Yorker never arrived! I am certain that it contained the winning entry, and was pilfered by my Evil Mailman, who once arbitrarily started returning all my mail to sender, without cause or apology.

    The last laugh will be on him, of course, because that portrait was painted with all the competence of your average, earnest middle-aged lawyer who has signed up for a sophomore painting class because he wants to get in touch with his Inner Artist That Might Have Been. The vagaries of market over-valuation are a terrible thing.

  2. Petite Maoiste

    Brilliant! Great comparison. And don’t you think El Schnabel took some liberties with his girth, which, if rendered realistically would have made him more Late Marlon Brando than Kirk Douglas? So 30 minutes is all it takes for Mr. Genious Macho to “get” you, make some broad strokes and break a few plates? ;)

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  4. John Cross

    In terms of selling the brand “Schnabel, this image will do. Lacking any life and infused with a stiff plastic template, the marriage of a big heartless bank and a buffed-up fraud like herr Schnabel is made in heaven (Madison Avenue for the suits). Why no plates? Schnabel has ridden that one trick pony so long I’m surprised with the big leap of creative faith! Banks and artists are like Hollywood and good story telling; a world apart. Only in America can a talentless individual go as far as this caricature of an artist has…and Mastercard? He’s laughing all the way to the bank!