Some describe his work as “apocalyptic terrariums.” Others say the creations of Max Hooper Schneider combine the natural and the artificial with a flair for the drama of theater that is disturbingly informed by the surreal.
Whatever the case, Schneider is an emerging artist that a lot of people are watching. He’s a new kind of talent who is, if not on the cusp of greatness, is definitely on the “cusp of the cusp of greatness” — as one art critic put it.
Max Hooper Schneider is seen as an unlikely entrant into the world of modern art. His formal education is in biology and architecture. He earned a Master’s degree in landscape architecture from Harvard University. At age 35, the Los Angeles native made art is full-time job, something he said was natural outcome of his past experience, interests, education and vision.
Some of Schneider’s works resemble large aquariums and/or terrariums that contain what he calls “trans-habitats.” Such a piece might be an aquarium choked thick with aquatic plants, but laced with neon lights and sundry pieces of refuse, such as razor blades, chunks of plastic, car parts and more.
One of his pieces resembles a 1950s-era dishwasher loaded with glassware that somehow comes to serves as a black-lit scene for an aquatic reef.
Art world observers say Schneider’s breakthrough into the realm of “respect” came after his 2014 exhibit at Jenny’s, a major Los Angeles art gallery. Other shows followed on the L.A. scene, but his work also has been on display in Paris, New York and Miami. One of his exhibits was shown in a Miami hotel in 2017 when that city hosted the international Art Basel event in 2017 – and Schneider became the “talk of the show,” according to the editors of Artsy.