Steve Schauer — known for gallery exhibitions of his steel, glass, and light wall construction works and later forays into conceptual art and social interventions, and who called himself Southern California’s Art Warrior — passed away Tuesday, June 6th, at age 53.
Schauer was a charter artist of the Patricia Correia Gallery, exhibiting at her original gallery space in Venice and her Bergamot Station location in Santa Monica.
He later married Correia, the gallery’s namesake and chief executive officer, in 1990.
A memorial service was held Saturday, June 17th, at the Patricia Correia Gallery at Bergamot Station.
A 1978 graduate of California State University at Fullerton, Schauer exhibited his works widely in group exhibitions during the 1980s at galleries ranging from the University of Southern California and California State University Long Beach to the Museum of Neon Art and the Craft and Folk Museum.
He taught at the Otis Art Institute of Parsons School of Design (now called the Otis College of Art and Design) from 1979 to 1982, Golden West Community College in Huntington Beach and California State University at Long Beach from 1982 to 1988, and at Yale University.
“A gregarious presence made Schauer a popular persona in the Southern California art scene, while his dexterous talent with a breadth of difficult art materials from delicate glass to unbending steel made him a respected artist’s artist,” said Mat Gleason, founder of the art publication Coagula.
Gleason said Schauer honed his mastery at Pasadena’s Judson School of Stained Glass.
A 1996 review in ArtScene magazine noted the innovation he brought to traditional art media.
“Schauer employs new forms, materials, and techniques in the fabrication of his large wall-installed structures and panels,” the review said.
By the late 1990s, the focus of his art shifted away from aesthetic objects and found a variety of expressions in commentary about art and its place in the real world.
Schauer humorously reconfigured full-page advertisements in glossy art publications.
He crossed out the names of Picasso, Lichtenstein, Frank Stella, and others, and replaced them with a scrawled “Schauer.” He then framed them for exhibition and priced them for sale extravagantly, Gleason said.
The greatest sympathy for his artistic vision was from the quarters of Los Angeles’s emerging artists.
In a region defined by the automobile, Schauer took his art to the masses.
At art gallery receptions, he was often passing out one of his latest self-published bumper stickers, from the humorous “I Brake for Art Openings” and “What About Me?” to his iconic “Art Warrior.”
“This in fact became emblematic of his iconoclastic ‘Warrior’ status — a master of materials and design too conceptually aware of the rules and vagaries of the art world and of the disdain for abstract thought in the culture at large,” Gleason said. “His response to this plight was always with humor and bold living, inspiring many in the local art community along the way.”
Schauer and Correia lived in Topanga Canyon and were active in Topanga, Santa Monica, Torrance, and Westside communities.
He is survived by his wife, Patricia Correia of Topanga Canyon, daughter Sarah Schauer of Irvine, family members, and hundreds of friends throughout the international art world.