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Strong stuff

Calvin Tomkins' piece ("Man of Steel" — not online, alas) in this week's New Yorker explores how Richard Serra's intensity and passion for his work has made for some difficult moments during his career, but it seems his otherwise inexplicably harsh behavior hasn't hurt his money-making ability. As Tomkins puts it:

Serra's refusal to compromise in his work does not prevent him from being highly professional and realistic in negotiations over contracts. "When he calls someone a motherfucker, that doesn't help of course," [Serra's German dealer, Alexander] von Berswordt [-Wallrabe] says, "but he rarely does that without reason."

Even the objects (victims?) of Serra's invectives, the article seems to suggest, would agree. I sure wish I could pull that off.

[NB: This week's New Yorker is well worth even its $3.50 news-stand fee, between the Serra piece and one by Malcolm Gladwell (on recognizing what facial expressions can communicate, both voluntarily and involuntarily — which I'm hoping will soon appear on Gladwell.com, and will mention (again) here when it does).]

July 31, 2002 1:07 PM

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Copyright ©2001-2003 Matt Pfeffer

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