By People Staff
May 05, 1986 12:00 PM

photographs by Harvey Stein

Here is the ideal book for anyone who has ever looked at a work of art and wondered, “Now who in the world would ever do something like this?” Stein, an East Coast photographer, has collected 85 of his portraits of current painters and sculptors in a funny, trenchant book. Most of the artists are posed with their own works, and there’s an eerie fascination in the way, say, George Segal blends into one of his sculptures. There are also brief but shrewdly chosen quotes from the artists about their work. Sculptor Carole Jeane Feuerman recalls that her right hand was once mysteriously paralyzed, then recovered: “If my work is really going to be good, it will come from within me and I’ll figure out how to do it. If I should have to work with my other hand, so be it. I’d figure out a way. I have a habit here; I really am a junkie to my art.” Painter-sculptor Donald Judd says, “Art is not a sport; it’s not the Super Bowl. Great popularity is not going to happen. And although [art dealer] Mary Boone is put on the cover of New York magazine, it’s nothing compared to Burt Reynolds’ popularity.” Robert Rauschenberg says, “For now, for my lifetime, it seems that I am considered a top artist and that doesn’t surprise me. But this doesn’t help me to make a new work. I go to work every time thinking, ‘What on earth am I going to do? How will I make something that works?’ ” (Abrams, paper, $17.95)