March 8, 2021

Steve Schauer (1952-2006)


Steve Schauer, Southern California’s self-proclaimed “Art Warrior,” known as much for gallery exhibitions of his steel, glass and light wall construction works as for his later forays into conceptual art and social interventions, passed away on June 6; he was 53.

A 1978 graduate of Cal State Fullerton, Schauer exhibited widely in group exhibitions during the 1980s at galleries ranging from USC and Cal State Long Beach to the Museum of Neon Art and the Craft and Folk Museum. He taught at Otis/Parsons in Los Angeles from 1979-1982, Golden West Community College in Huntington Beach, Cal State Long Beach from 1982-1988 and at Yale. Schauer was a charter artist of the Patricia Correia Gallery, exhibiting at her original gallery space in Venice, California as well as her world-renowned Bergamot Station exhibition venue. He married Ms. Correia, the gallery’s namesake and CEO, in 1990.

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. He 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.”

By the late 1990s, however, 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. Reflecting the everyman artist’s envy of successful art giants, he humorously reconfigured full page advertisements in glossy art publications, boldly crossing out the names of Picasso, Lichtenstein, Frank Stella and others, replacing them with a confidently scrawled “Schauer.” They were of course, framed for exhibition and extravagantly priced. Again, the greatest sympathy for his artistic vision was from the quarters of L.A.’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. His response to this plight was always with humor and bold living, inspiring many in the local art community along the way.

Schauer is survived by his wife, Patricia Correia of Topanga Canyon, daughter Sarah Schauer of Irvine, along with family and hundreds of friends throughout the international art world.