I don’t know how it happened, but I found myself in the position of organizing a conference on his work in New York, when I was at Columbia, Columbia University, and I asked three of the leading commentators on the art scene, at the time, if they would speak on that occasion.1 And they all refused. And that included Leo Steinberg, he died just a little while ago, Arthur Danto and Nelson Goodman. All three of them refused, and then this man, now his name is coming to me, but I have to wait to catch it. He said, “Well, why don’t you do it, Joe? Why don’t you — and I’ll give you some materials that may help you.”


Yeah. He was absolutely a splendid man. He had almost total recall and a kind of an encyclopedic mastery of — Meyer Schapiro, there it is. I studied with Meyer Schapiro, and I — I don’t know how to say it. He was a stunning man, absolutely spectacular, and of course, I knew what would happen, I spoke. And then Schapiro, who had no self restraint, in a way, he simply took over. I was delighted that he did, but I think Nelson Goodman, Leo Steinberg and Arthur Danto would have been annoyed to have been, what shall I say, outclassed in an instant.


So, I think that — I mean I wouldn’t have taken his courses in a special way, and actually became a minor friend of his. I think the distance between us was so unbelievable, because he was certainly one of the most extraordinary men I’ve ever met in my life. A man of great sensibility and public responsibility.

  1. People Of Talk []
Return to Index