Schnabel Schmacks Down Safer


Beefy and hirsute though he may be on the outside, the artist Julian Schnabel is a delicate flower within. With careful handling and feeding, said flower will blossom, thrusting its stamen out into the world and releasing its intoxicating, Schnabulous perfume. But if the flower is crushed, it turns rotten, giving off an unpleasant odor that dampens the spirit of everyone around it. Last night Morley Safer, the septuagenarian host of 60 Minutes, stepped unwittingly onto one of Schnabel’s petals by bringing up Robert Hughes, the Times art critic who once called him a “schlockmeister,” and not because he was doing that cute rhyming thing we do. Behind his yellow-tinted glasses, Schnabel’s eyes burst into flames.
“You really want to do this?” he demanded of Safer, who looked suddenly old and small sitting in a massive chair at Palazzo Chupi.
“Well, we try to cover all aspects…” he began.
“It’s lazy … It’s very lazy.”
Safer tried to change the subject and asked him very nicely about his film career. But Schnabel wasn’t over it: “I’m still pissed off about talking about Robert Hughes,” he schnarled. Watch it and cringe.