For “These Days,” the gallery at Sotheby’s is made over to look like “some combination of my living room and bedroom,” said Mr. Schnabel. The Richard Gluckman-designed space is typically white, with a circular column in the center of the room. Mr. Schnabel has covered it with wood panels like those found in Palazzo Chupi, placed lime-green carpet on the floors and painted the ceiling a dark brown so that it “looks like leather.” Sotheby’s didn’t really give Mr. Schnabel any limitations on what he wanted to do; the installation took eight frenzied days.
Three of the works, early paintings by Mr. Colen that were cordoned off in a separate room, hang on the walls of Mr. Schnabel’s home. Those aren’t for sale. (Alex Rotter, head of contemporary art at Sotheby’s, would not tell The Observer what artworks have already sold, but regarding how many of them have been purchased, he offered, “A lot. There are very few things still available.”)
The opening was a mix of established collectors in suits, Sotheby’s employees in black cocktail dresses, and young artists—like one of the Bruces, whose appearance, out of solidarity, we will not describe further—in torn denim. Mary-Kate Olsen showed up, as did a confused-looking Lou Reed, a longtime neighbor of the Schnabels. Mr. Reed, who was wearing a long black trench coat, leaned against the wall next to The Gate. We asked him if he liked the art.
“I like the pizza,” he said, gesturing with his hand to Pizzatopia, also by Bruce High Quality, which Mr. Schnabel describes as “a good New York City pie with the New York skyline on it.” Asked if he was a fan of the artists on display, Mr. Reed responded flatly: “I don’t know any of the artists here except for Julian.”
The Observer bumped into the older Mr. Schnabel in a side room that held three white paintings by Mr. Koh. The room, naturally, was kept a stark white and seemed to glow in comparison to the rest of the gallery.
“I like that they look like molten lava,” Mr. Schnabel said of the paintings’ white-on-white texture. If they hadn’t been devoid of color, they would, in fact, have looked more than a bit like some of Mr. Schnabel’s own work. “Or mountain ranges. They look like a lot of things. When you make art for a long enough time, you learn.”
As he talked, he backed away, still talking, and, like Vito, shifted his weight back and forth in front of one of the canvases. He paused for a moment and then offered his son some passing praise: “You learn how to make a show.”