On 60 Minutes, Morley Safer Asks Julian Schnabel ‘Were You a Doper?’

If you’re a regular reader of UnBeige, you know that we adore Julian Schnabel: his Twombly-meets-Basquiat-in-a-Venetian-castle aesthetic, his films, and yes, his dashing loungewear. And so we had to tune in to last night’s 60 Minutes sit-down with the artist, in which Morley Safer (alas not, as our fervent wishes would have had it, Andy Rooney) paid a visit to the Palazzo Chupi. We learn that a ten-year-old Schnabel was captivated by Rembrandt‘s 1653 painting “Aristotle with a Bust of Homer” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. “It was a big deal to me,” says Schnabel. “There was like a glow coming out of that picture.”

With a less than artful transition wrought from a Ten Commandments film clip, Safer moves to the topic of the Schnabel family’s 1966 move from Brooklyn to Brownsville, Texas, which Schnabel describes as “the marijuana hub of the United States.” Then Safer lets loose with a question that sounds straight out of Dragnet: “Were you a doper yourself?” Schnabel manages to stifle a laugh but can’t resist repeating the term before assuring a grinning Safer that he was not involved in the drug trade. Here’s the full interview, which also includes a charming anecdote about a midget employed by the Salvation Army thrift shop and Schnabel’s evocative description of critic Robert Hughes as “like a bully in a bar waiting around for someone to slip on a banana peel.”