Art: The Sayings of Mrs. N.

The self-construction of the Nevelson persona has as much to do with words as with Paisley scarves or triple-layered eyelashes. In memoirs, lectures and interviews, the artist has built up a sort of collage of comments—often repeated, but often to good effect—on art, life, love and other themes. A sampling:

On Indirection. Life isn't one straight line. Never. Most of us have to be transplanted, like a tree, before we blossom.

On Early Training. I don't like cold weather, and I found the schools cold, so I selected art. I liked that room because it was so warm. Of course, I loved my...

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