Steve Martin takes on the art world
The acclaimed comedian, actor, and musician examines the Zeitgeist of New York's art scene in his newest novel An Object of Beauty
By Iain Millar. Web only
Published online: 24 November 2010
Not content with being an acclaimed comedian and actor, a musician nifty with a banjo and the author of number of books of fact and fiction, Steve Martin has written a novel set in the art world.
An Object of Beauty is the tale of eager young thing Lacey Yeager who trades her way up from Sotheby’s basement to a space of her own via some dodgy dealing, a rich collector as a lover and association with a rising star artist exquisitely named Pilot Mouse.
It’s an engaging story peppered with real-world references: Martin is clearly familiar with the world of collectors, dealers and auctions and does himself no harm whatsoever by namechecking this publication.
A cover comment by the novelist Joyce Carol Oates compares the book to those of Edith Wharton. It’s an overstated comparison, but you know what she means—Martin has set out to examine the Zeitgeist, and the mores of the bourgeoisie through the medium of a flawed protagonist, as did Wharton.
Are modern times kinder to those who fall from grace? In Wharton's The Age of Innocence, May Welland endures a loveless marriage before an untimely death. The House of Mirth’s Lily Bart expires from an overdose of sleeping potion after a slow and unjust decline in social standing. For Martin’s Lacey Yeager, her destiny is the closure of her gallery, exile to Atlanta and a job with Elton John. Who’s to say which is the worse fate?
For an interview with Steve Martin published in our Frieze fair daily papers, see related article
Submit a comment
All comments are moderated. If you would like your comment to be approved, please use your real name, not a pseudonym. We ask for your email address in case we wish to contact you - it will not be
made public and we do not use it for any other purpose.
Want to write a longer comment to this article? Email firstname.lastname@example.org