Sculptor hopes work stimulates dialogue


Internationally renowned sculptor Richard Serra was on campus Nov. 10 for the dedication of his dramatic new sculpture, "The Hedgehog and the Fox."

The sculpture, three ribbons of rust-colored steel, stands 94 feet long and 15 feet high. It was erected between Peyton and Fine halls and is a major contribution to the University's well-known collection of modern outdoor art.

"It seems to be that one of the basic functions of art is to enable us to acknowledge thought and perception in ways that other things do not," Serra said at the dedication. "To engage thought does not mean that the thought is contained solely within the work itself, it also means that the thought is contained within the dialogue that the work engenders in relation to its place."


The sculpture was donated by Peter Joseph, a member of the class of 1972 and the former chairman and chief executive officer of the merchant banking firm Rosecliff Inc. Before he died in 1998, Joseph, a New York art enthusiast, had commissioned the $1 million sculpture for the University in honor of his children, Danielle and Nicholas. They were present at the ceremony, along with his wife, Wendy Evans Joseph, and his mother, Ev Joseph.

The name of the sculpture refers to an essay by Isaiah Berlin, who quotes from the Greek poet Archilochus: "The fox knows many things but the hedgehog knows one great thing." Serra explained, "It points to how scholars either become free thinkers and invent or become subjugated to the dictates of history. This is the classical problem posed to every student."

Serra does not grind, polish or paint the metal used in his sculptures, but allows them to rust and bear the scrapes and scratches that occur during creation. His work is displayed in leading galleries and museums across Europe and the United States.

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